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Ultrasound in 3 dimensions useless from the point of view of AOK

"Billions of fee-generating treatments in the doctor's room health insurance companies: self-payer offers mostly useless"

Attention! The legal situation regarding the use of ultrasound during pregnancy has changed in Germany. Doctors and all other persons are forbidden to use ultrasound on unborn children, if there is no medical necessity. This makes baby television - as a private, self-payed service - a misdemeanour, as do CTG measurements and dopton applications. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety follows the recommendation of the Radiation Protection Commission (SSK) and places consumer protection above the economic interests of ultrasound users.

The three so-called "basic ultrasound examinations" continue to be offered as part of medical pregnancy monitoring. Parents decide, whether they want to have their child examined with ultrasound or not. You can find out more in this press release.

Supreme examiner criticise brazen "IgeL kings" (transcript: 17.7.2016) From Basil Wegener Berlin. You can see the little nose, the arms, the hands and the mouth as it opens and closes - parents can observe the fetus in the womb by 3-D ultrasound. Many self paying services have been checked. This is one of the last. The result is as negative as with almost all of these services: The health insurance auditors do not acknowledge any recognizable benefit of the method. Again and again patients are pushed to obtain individual health services(*IGeL stands for “Individuelle Gesundheitsleistung”. This means services which are not covered by the health insurance but need to be paid for privately.) as a complaint portal of the Consumer Center[ Verbraucherzentrale] shows. As a female patient describes, a gynecologist pressed a form into her hand at her first visit during pregnancy. She was offered to select from several tests, e.g. chickenpox, blood sugar, ultrasound as desired and seven other offers from € 20 to € 150 each.

"Certainly I want to have a healthy child," she writes, "but do I need all of this?

According to calculations by the Scientific Institute of the AOK, just under 20 million IGeL services are provided each year doctors earn more than one billion euros from them. No wonder they are defending the benefit of these services. The health insurers are taking a highly critical view on this procedure. When it comes to doctors' allegedly dubious practices, Peter Pick is not squeamish. The managing director of the medical service of the health insurance association, so to speak the head of the health insurance auditors, accuses especially gynaecologists and other MDs of particularly often wanting to sell IGeL services in an audacious way: "The industry speaks of IGeL kings." It annoys him, when he hears sentences like: "This should be worth your health."

That's the way it goes during pregnancy: Three ultrasound examinations are offered to detect possible malformations or other complications at an early stage. Relevant studies have shown no difference in benefit between spectacular 3-D baby TV and normal ultrasound. In another ultrasound procedure to examine the blood vessels, some studies have indicated that this can reduce the number of stillbirths somewhat. Other studies have shown the opposite. The situation is similar with other offers, for example, the measurement of intraocular pressure - the study situation is too poor for indications of an additional benefit. However, patients could develop a feeling of deep insecurity. There is always a severe lack of evidence that the methods really work."