Chair of Medical Sociology

Short description

The Chair of Medical Sociology was newly established at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Cologne in February 2023 and is headed by Prof. Dr. Lena Ansmann.

The aim of the chair is to study the social and organizational context of medical care, with a particular focus on the interaction and communication between patients, professions, care organizations and society. The chair pursues a research program on contextual influences of the micro level (individual and interaction), meso level (organizations) and macro level (society) on health care. The focus is on the meso-level of organizations.

The team has expertise in qualitative and quantitative empirical social research, the application of sociological theories to health care science issues, clinic-based field research, and the collection of primary data. The team’s expertise also includes evaluation and implementation research on complex interventions to improve care.

In addition, the chair assumes teaching responsibility for the subject of medical sociology in the model course of study in human medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne.


Laura Mause

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

Anna Moritz

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin


More information coming soon.

Scientific project management of the external evaluation
Operatival project management
Administrative project management
  • Markus Alich

Patient surveys are an important and informative tool for improving patient and health care. Every year, breast centers in North Rhine-Westphalia participate in a mandatory patient survey using a standardized, validated questionnaire as part of the (re)certification process according to the requirements catalog “Procedures for the Certification of Breast Centers in North Rhine-Westphalia.” Since 2006, the Institute for Medical Sociology, Health Services Research and Rehabilitation Science (IMVR) of the Faculty of Human Sciences and Medicine at the University of Cologne has surveyed patients with primary breast carcinoma who have undergone surgery in one of the North Rhine-Westphalian breast centers certified by the Medical Association of Westphalia-Lippe. The survey takes place every year over a period of six months.

Survey instrument
The survey instrument and data collection procedure were developed by the “Quality Development” working group – an association of all partners in the concerted action against breast cancer in NRW – in collaboration with the Department of Medical Sociology at Cologne University Hospital. A pretest indicated that the Cologne Patient Questionnaire – Breast Cancer (KPF-BK) and the procedure are well suited for the annual routine examination (see EBZ study).
In developing the questionnaire, relevant modules of the Cologne Patient Questionnaire (KPF) were selected and supplemented with additional breast cancer-specific questions. The breast cancer-specific Cologne Patient Questionnaire (KPF-BK) includes modules on hospital organization, doctor-patient and nurse interaction, patient information and satisfaction.

Data collection procedure
Data is collected through a postal survey of patients who have undergone primary breast cancer surgery in one of the certified breast cancer centers in North Rhine-Westphalia and have a confirmed diagnosis and at least one postoperative histology. The Cologne Patient Questionnaire – Breast Cancer (KPF-BK) is distributed between February 1 and July 31 of each year.
Shortly before discharge from the breast centers, patients are asked if they are willing to participate in the survey. The corresponding consent forms are sent to IMVR at the end of a week. The survey takes place the following week by post, i.e. the patient receives the questionnaire at home from IMVR after discharge.

The data are collected at IMVR, quality-assured and then evaluated. The institute is committed to strict compliance with EU data protection regulations. Item parameters and response rates are reviewed as part of the quality assurance process. The mean values (on a scale of 1 to 6) of the validated scales used and the frequencies of selected individual items are then calculated for each breast center. The data are analyzed using SPSS and STATA statistical software.
The heads of the operative sites of the breast centers receive the results of the data annually in the form of a report. The results can be used from a clinical breast center perspective to monitor treatment success and symptoms over time to improve the quality of care for breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer patients who participated in the routine survey can also give their consent to participate in a follow-up survey. In this follow-up study, breast cancer patients are asked again in writing about their experiences 12 months after breast cancer surgery. The goal of the study is to examine the quality of life and long-term needs of breast cancer patients.

Information on nutrition
In cooperation with the Center for Integrated Oncology (CIO) Cologne-Bonn, an information fact sheet on nutrition for breast cancer patients was developed.

  • Lubasch, J.S.; Lee, S.; Kowalski, C.; Beckmann, M.; Pfaff, H.; Ansmann, L. Hospital Processes and the Nurse-Patient Interaction in Breast Cancer Care. Findings from a Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 8224.
  • Cecon, N., Pfaff, H., Lee, S., Dresen, A., Gross, S.E. Development of the health behaviour scale for cancer patients (HBSCP), analysis of its factorial structure and evaluation of its psychometric properties. European Journal of Cancer Care 2021.
  • Cecon, N., Pfaff, H., Lee, S., Dresen, A. A salutogenic model predicting the need for psycho‐oncological care and its utilisation – The role of generalised resistance resources and sense of coherence. European Journal of Cancer Care 2020.
  • Groß, S.E., Weidner, D., Cecon, N. et al. Does basic information concerning nutrition improve the information needs of breast cancer patients? An evaluation. Support Care Cancer 2020.
  • Scheibler, F., Pfaff, H., Kowalski, C., Ansmann, L. Shared Decision Making in Brustzentren in NRW: Ergebnisse einer 10-Jahres-TrendanalyseShared decision making in breast care centres in North Rhine-Westphalia: Results of a 10-year trend analysis. Zeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen 2019.
  • Lee, S., Groß, S.E., Pfaff, H., Dresen, A. Waiting time, communication quality, and patient satisfaction: An analysis of moderating influences on the relationship between perceived waiting time and the satisfaction of breast cancer patients during their inpatient stay. Patient Education and Counseling 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.11.018
  • Lee, S., Groß, S.E., Pfaff, H., Dresen, A. Waiting time, communication quality, and patient satisfaction: an analysis of moderating influences of perceived long waiting time on the satisfaction of breast cancer patients during their inpatient stay. Patient Education and Counseling 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.11.018
  • Lee, S., Groß, S.E., Pfaff, H., Dresen, A. Differences in perceived waiting time by health insurance type in the inpatient sector: an analysis of breast cancer patients in Germany. INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing 2019; 56:1-11. DOI: 10.1177/0046958019875897.
  • Nowak, M., Lee, S., Karbach, U., Pfaff, H., Groß, S.E. Short length of stay and the discharge process: Preparing breast cancer patients appropriately. Patient Education and Counseling 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.08.012.
  • Barteldrees, K.; Pfaff, H.; Groß, S. E.; Ansmann, L.: Gibt es einen Zusammenhang zwischen den Auditergebnissen und den Patientinnenerfahrungen in Brustzentren in Nordrhein-Westfalen? (Is there an association between audit results and patient experiences at breast centres in North Rhine-Westphalia?). Das Gesundheitswesen. DOI: 10.1055/a-0795-3388.
  • Diekmann, A.; Heuser, C.; Ernstmann, N.; Geiser, F.; Groß, S. E.; Midding, E.; Pfaff, H.; Ansmann, L.: How do breast cancer patients experience multidisciplinary tumor conferences?– A description from the patient perspective. The Breast. 44:66-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.breast.2018.12.012.