Managing the medical mindshift: Example of service orientation

What it’s all about

Doctors of the upcoming generation of physicians have a general idea of their work in general practitioner and specialist care that differs significantly from that of their established colleagues. For example, they are proactively looking for new ways to retain and attract patients. One starting point here is to focus on the topic of „patient service“.

Mindshift to practice work

Young doctors run their practices differently than their colleagues who have been established for years. Trained on the foundation of a mindset that focuses solely on medical work, many of them have recognised the need for a mindshift. Due to

  • structural changes in outpatient care,
  • digitalisation,
  • the popularisation of medicine,
  • changing patient demands and
  • strongly developed personal demands

they come to a

  • a critical examination of the medical profession,
  • proactive search for new forms of treatment
  • a changed basic attitude towards their working conditions, which must above all harmonise with their personal goals,
  • professional management that involves staff much more, and a new definition of the term „success“.
  • new definition of the term „success“.

One building block of this new type of management is service orientation.

Service simply (and wrongly) defined

In the current understanding of many practice owners, the term „service“ refers to the patient-oriented „normal degree“ of humanity, mutual respect and empathic communication.

Distinction between core and additional services

However, from the patient’s point of view – and this is where the term needs to be defined – it encompasses all the additional services and activities that accompany the core medical services, which also include the aspects mentioned at the beginning. These include

  • the ambience,
  • technical aspects (e.g. the possibility of making appointments online),
  • organisational arrangements (parking spaces, room signage, taxi call, prescription ordering, etc.),
  • information aids (brochures, references to internet links, etc.) and
  • personal support of the practice team (e.g. making appointments with specialists, help with applications), but also care aspects such as
  • flexibility,
  • reliability,
  • information or
  • friendliness.

Declining service quality

And the presence of these services is becoming increasingly important for practice visitors. If one compares the key performance indicator „Service Quality Score (SQS)“, the ratio of patient satisfaction with the services in medical practices in relation to the demands, which is determined in practice management company comparisons, the already low value has been declining year-on-year for many years at low rates, but steadily. The reason: the level of service provided by practices remained virtually unchanged, but demands increased.

The SQS status

The SQS comprises four assessment criteria

  • greater than 80%: Excellent
  • 60% to 80%: Largely compliant
  • 40% to 60%: Average
  • less than 40%: Insufficient

The average level of service in German GP and specialist practices is currently only 43%, i.e. from the patient’s point of view it is only of mediocre quality.

Service as a strategic action variable

In the established medical mindset, the discussion about the topic of service is predominantly characterised by statements such as: „That’s not so bad, it’s all about helping the patients!“ or: „There are both positive and negative examples everywhere!“; many practice teams do not attach any particular relevance to the topic. However, in the course of patient empowerment and the transparency of practice services on the internet, offering service is becoming a strategic, success-influencing parameter of action for medical practices, an aspect that young doctors have already internalised. With equally good medical care, those practices that have not adequately developed their service will fall behind in the future.

The analysis tool on the topic

Valetudo Check-up© „Patient Satisfaction in Medical Practices“ with Digital Interest and Service Query

All information at a glance…