Featured Doctor

KÜHLEIN, Prof Thomas

Germany - Chair of WICC

Thomas Kühlein of Germany is the new chair of WICC - the WONCA International Classification Committee.

What work do you do now?

The Institute of General Practice I am working at was founded in Erlangen/ Germany in October 2013. We started then as two colleagues from Heidelberg University. Soon we are going to be nine colleagues working here. The first work was developing a teaching program for general practice. In parallel we wrote applications for research grants for health services research, which in Germany is mostly funded by the government institutions. Under the heading of “Prevention of Overdiagnosis in Primary Care” we achieved funding for three big studies, which we are working on now. Now, we are restructuring a group practice in the suburbs of Erlangen to become a teaching practice and a model for future forms of primary care in Germany. On two days each week I am also caring for patients in this practice.

Other interesting things you have done?

During my PhD in Heidelberg I became a member of the WONCA International Classification Committee (WICC) which I was elected chair of in late 2016. The WICC is the group that developed and maintains the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2). Currently we are working on the development of ICPC-3. Also the adaption of the International Classification of Functioning and Disability for its use in primary care is a major topic of my work. I am also involved in the making of a primary care linearization of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

For more explanation of this work see the WICC report 2015-16.

What do you hope to achieve as chair of WONCA’s most long-standing working party WICC?

Data and the resulting statistics are mostly used by people not caring directly for patients. The traditional focus on the single individual patient in front of us seems to almost exclude an additional broader view for most of us. Donald Schoen once described in his seminal book “The reflective practitioner” that anyone who is doing practical work needs to reflect on the results of this work in order to get better if necessary. This reflection is what we normally don’t get. By structuring and coding our documentation we could easily receive statistical feedback on the quality of the care we deliver. What I would like to achieve is a form of documentation that at the same time serves as a checklist (read the wonderful book “A Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande!) in order not to forget taking important decisions and as a way of capturing data.

My dream would be that when I shut down the computer in my practice in the evening, then out of the printer comes a little message stating something like “You have been good again today” :-)

What are your interests outside work?

Outside my work I have far too many interests like reading, sports (race cycling, jogging), analogue black and white photography, arts, cooking and the like. Unfortunately my current work is so fascinating and so much that it leaves little time for the many interests I have.