FEMS Secrétariat

Rue Guimard, 15
B-1040 Bruxelles

proche +32 2 736 60 66
Fax +32 2 732 99 72

FEMS Registered Office

39, rue Victor Massé
F-75009 Paris


Diana Voicu


Austrian Medical Chamber, VLKÖ

Country Report Austria, May 2017


1. Working group – reduction of bureaucracy
According to a survey among hospital doctors, only 58% of the daily working hours are dedicated to medical work, 35% is spent with administration and 8% for research and academic activities. The results show that measures are needed to improve this situation, especially when it comes to bureaucracy.

For this reason, the Federal Body of employed doctors of the Austrian Medical Chamber set up a working group to reduce bureaucracy in hospitals. Within the working group suggestions for improvement via e-mail from doctors all over Austria are collected, anonymised, sorted and elaborated. The elaborated suggestions should be the basis for the initiation of legislative amendments.

2. Refugees
Another current topic of the Austrian Medical Chamber is the examination of the requirements regarding refugees applying for registration with the Austrian Medical Chamber. Following the amendment of the Austrian Medical Act 1998 from the 17th January 2017, every medical doctor holding a foreign medical diploma, especially refugees, has the possibility to do a clinical internship during the process of the recognition of their basic medical degree (Nostrifikation).

3. Election of the representatives of the medical chambers in Austria
The Austrian Medical Chamber is the umbrella organisation of all Medical Chambers. In Austria, there exists one Medical Chamber for each province, i.e. nine provincial Medical Chambers. According to the Austrian Medical Act 1998, every five years new representatives of the provincial Medical Chambers have to be elected. As the current period is over, between the 25th February and the 6th April 2017, all of the 44,000 registered doctors in Austria have the right to vote for their new representatives. The current president of the Austrian Medical Chamber is Dr Artur Wechselberger.

4. ELGA in hospitals
ELGA is an abbreviation for electronic health records in German. The aim of ELGA is to elaborate an information system that provides doctors, hospitals, care facilities and pharmacies access to a patient’s health record. Since December 2015, hospitals in Austria are obliged to implement this system. However, there are still a lot of problems concerning the usability of ELGA.

A lot of documents have already been added to the system, but it is difficult to find a certain document when needed. The current situation is not – as foreseen – an improvement of the work routine, but an additional time requirement.

Therefore, the Austrian Medical Chamber demands improved usability, complete and current data, guaranteed data protection, clarification of the terms of use, employment of documentation assistants and a better structure and architecture of the uploaded documents, at least CDA-Level 3. CDA (Clinical Document Architecture) is an XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure and semantics of clinical documents for exchange.

5. Campaign of the Austrian Medical Chamber – “less ist not more” („Weniger ist nicht mehr“)
In November, the Austrian Medical Chamber introduced its campaign “less is not more” (Weniger ist nicht mehr”). The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate the negative consequences of the planned reform package for the Austrian healthcare system.
Among others, the package includes agreements according to Article 15a of the Federal Constitutional Act regarding the reorganisation of Primary Care. According to these agreements, Primary Health Centres should function as practice networks, but also at central level in the form of group practices or of PHCs integrated in health institutions such as hospitals.
In this regard, the Austrian Medical Chamber agrees with the basic ideas, but claims more co-determination of the medical profession in the political discourse in general. Furthermore, the Chamber insists on keeping a close to domicile health care provision with self-employed physicians in single or group practices instead of ambulatory care.

6. New Health Minister Pamela Rendi-Wagner
On the 7th March 2017, Pamela Rendi-Wagner took over from Sabine Oberhauser as the new designated Federal Minister of Health and Women. Before transferring to be a section leader in the Ministry of Health, the MedUni Vienna graduate worked for many years as a scientist at the Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine at MedUni Vienna. She is an expert in vaccinology and infection epidemiology.