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Economic Forum 2021: Patient Hospital

The German hospital sector between crisis security, optimal care and economy

By Valentina Baisch und Sarah Krüger

Germany’s hospital sector is at a crossroads - an ageing society and the management of a global pandemic meet a shortage of doctors and nursing staff. At the same time, there is a discussion of a sharp reduction in the number of hospitals. Can there be a compromise in the hospital sector between crisis security, optimal care and the economy?

That will be the focus of ESB's "Wirtschaftsforum" (Economic Forum) on 27 April 2021, starting at 7:00 pm. For the first time, the event will be broadcast live so that students, alumni and all other interested parties worldwide can be there. Whether there will also be a live event in the auditorium will be decided at short notice, depending on the applicable guidelines and any necessary infection prevention measures.

Why is the 2021 forum focusing on the “Patient Hospital?” A lot has changed in the German hospital sector since 1991. At that time, there were around 2,500 hospitals with a total of around 650,000 beds. By 2017, the number of beds had decreased to around 500,000. Yet the number of treatments per year rose from 14.6 million to around 19.5 million during that period.

In concrete terms, this means fewer beds in hospitals for more treatments each year. According to the German Hospital Barometer 2020, only 18% of hospitals rate their economic situation as good, while 45% describe the situation as rather unsatisfactory. Moreover, 40% of hospitals expect their economic situation to worsen in 2021.

The 2021 Wirtschaftsforum will bring together experts from politics, academia and business to examine the issue from all sides. The following speakers will join the panel: 

  • Prof. Dr Michael Bamberg – Chairman of the Management Board of the University Hospital Tübingen and Chief Medical Director
  • Franz Knieps – Member of the Management Board of the Association of Company Health Insurance Funds (Dachverband DKK) and former head of department in the Federal Ministry of Health for the area “health care, health insurance, long-term nursing insurance”.
  • Matthias Mohrmann – Member of the Management Board of the AOK Rheinland/Hamburg (statutory health insurance fund), member of the expert advisory board of the Federal Ministry of Health to support hospitals during the corona epidemic 
  • Siegmar Nesch - Executive consultant and coach at Nesch Consulting, former Vice-Chairman of the AOK Baden-Württemberg and ESB alumnus
  • Oliver Rong - Senior Partner in Pharmacy and Health Care at Roland Berger, former manager of strategic development at Asklepios clinics
  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Ullmann - Member of the German Bundestags, Chairman of the health committee for FDP (Free Democratic Party Germany), Professor for infectiology at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

This year's moderator will be Philipp von der Wippel, founder of ProjectTogether, an innovation platform whose activities include initiating the #WirVsVirus hackathon.

The ESB Wirtschaftsforum is an annual panel discussion on current topics in politics, business and society. The event is organized by students of the ESB Business School. This year's team consists of Marius Röger and Leonard Wolter (speaker acquisition), Valentina Baisch and Sarah Krüger (marketing) and Nils Zarn and Caroline Ziegle (logistics and streaming). The students from the BSc International Management Double Degree are looking forward to a broad-based audience at the first Economic Forum to be widely attended online.