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Women use physiotherapy services more often than men

Women use physiotherapy services more often than men


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AOK drug report: women use physical therapy more often

The Scientific Institute of the AOK (WidO) published the Therapeutic Products Report 2017. According to this, around 4.5 million people insured with AOK received physiotherapy in 2016. A total of 13 million services were approved. The report shows that almost two-thirds (63 percent) of therapeutic drug patients were female. The most common diagnosis in physiotherapy prescriptions was by far unspecific back pain. This was the reason for the therapy in around a third (31.5 percent) of all physiotherapy patients.

With a share of 46.7 percent, normal physiotherapy accounted for almost half of all approved physiotherapy services in AOK patients. Manual therapies only accounted for around 15 percent of all services. Overall, significantly more women than men have used physiotherapy. 21.4 percent of the female and only 13.4 percent of the male AOK insureds received physiotherapy treatment. "Although women objectively have a higher life expectancy than men, they subjectively assess their health status worse, go to the doctor more often and also use physiotherapy accordingly more often, and across all age groups," says Helmut Schröder, Deputy Managing Director of the WIdO.

The relationship is reversed for children under the age of 14

Children up to 14 years of age who used medicinal products showed an inverse gender ratio. Here, the proportion of boys was 60 percent ahead of that of girls. Most medicinal treatments were claimed by children as young as six years old. 30.3 percent of the boys and 19.3 percent of the girls received treatment from them.

Back pain as the front runner

Patients with non-specific back pain were the largest group of drug prescriptions in 2016. According to WidO, over 1.4 million patients were affected. Most of the cases were short-term treatments with an average of 1.9 services per patient. Three-quarters of the patients had a single episode. Back pain, the most common diagnosis in physiotherapy, is related to outpatient care. According to the report on medicinal products, a confirmed ICD diagnosis “M54 back pain” was documented in 6.8 million AOK insured persons in 2016 as part of the outpatient contract medical care. The prevalence rate for this non-specific diagnostic coding is thus 26.7 percent. Back diagnosis is also in second place in the diagnosis ranking of all prescriptions for medicinal products. "Other diseases of the spine and back" came in second place with 7.8 percent, followed by "Other intervertebral disc damage" with 5.2 percent.

General practitioners issue most prescriptions

General practitioners are still the main prescribers for physiotherapy services. Almost half of the patients received their prescription from their family doctor. According to the drug report, this corresponds to almost 40 percent of all physiotherapy services. Approximately one third of the patients were provided with physiotherapy services by an orthopedic surgeon.

Ergotherapy and speech therapy

Ergotherapy and speech therapy made up only 6.9 and 4.9 percent of the medical services provided by statutory health insurance last year, however, according to WidO, the comparatively expensive therapeutic agents still achieved a share of sales of 14.7 and 10.7 percent, respectively. The area of ​​occupational therapy accounted for 3.08 million of the therapeutic services, the total turnover was 968.7 million euros. In the area of ​​speech therapy, there were 2.21 million services with a total turnover of 704 million euros. (fp)

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