Managing the medical mindshift: Putting an end to the old dogmas on practice management

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it is all about

Dogmas or beliefs are fixed generalised opinions that are considered to be unreservedly correct and are therefore not scrutinised. They help with orientation, but lead astray if they do not correspond with reality, obscure the view of unused opportunities and make work more difficult, since misalignments cannot even be recognised.

In individual cases without problems

Admittedly: Each of us lives with convictions in our private and professional lives. They provide orientation and security and accelerate decision-making, action and evaluation processes. However, the prerequisite is that they correspond to reality. If this is not the case, they lead to mistakes and failures, an aspect that also has an impact on the work of medical practices in the form of poor qualitative and quantitative results. In particular, this applies to mindsets with beliefs such as:

  • „We have always done it this way!“
  • „This principle does not work for us!“
  • „We know the requirements of our patients!“
  • „Patients do not want this kind of service!“
  • „It’s the same in other practices!“
  • „We don’t need marketing!“
  • „Everything is fine with us, we have QM!“

Such mindsets primarily hinder the so important area of practice management optimisation and GPs and specialists can no longer afford this in the future.

The special importance of practice management

Practice management functions as a transmitter of the medical competence of physicians, the activities of medical assistants and the resources used into the actual care of patients. The quality of its organisation determines

  • the extent to which the skills of the doctors and the abilities of the staff are made available to the patients in the form of individualised assistance,
  • It also determines how quickly practice teams can react to changes of any kind, implement them and benefit from them (example: digitalisation).

Smoothly functioning practice management is based on the implementation of the best practice standard, i.e. the systematic use of business methods, instruments and management behaviours that ensure that internal and external requirements for practice work are met.

The practice management insufficiency (PMI)

If the practice management is not capable of organising the practice operation in such a way that it meets the requirements of everyday work and functions smoothly in principle, this is referred to as practice management insufficiency (PMI). The reason for its occurrence is that

  • the selection of precautions taken and measures implemented is incomplete and / or incorrect, or
  • their implementation is insufficient and / or incorrect.

This creates a vacuum, because internal and external requirements for practice work are not adequately met.

The prevalence of PMI

About 2/3 of German medical practices are affected by PMI in varying degrees and manifestations. This large number results from the fact that general practitioners and specialists on average do not even use 50% of the precautions necessary for a smoothly functioning practice. One reason for this is the „misdirecting dogmas“ mentioned at the beginning.

Agility instead of misguided principles

These beliefs manifest a rigid basic attitude and a general resistance to change. As a result, they directly inhibit efficiency and productivity, reinforce practice management insufficiency and also have a negative impact on practice results. What makes future-oriented practice work successful, however, is agility.

While the health policy, medical, social and entrepreneurial environment in which general practitioners and specialists operate has been characterised by relative constancy and predictability up to now, for some time now medical practitioners have been increasingly confronted with changes that lead to instability and disorientation and which cannot be adequately countered with the previous, mostly static practice management concepts.

The guidebook on the subject

The solution to this problem, which will increase significantly in intensity in the future, is agile practice management. How it can be implemented is described in the guidebook: „Agile practice management for general practitioners and specialists – best practices for a smoothly functioning and future-stable practice operation“. Its contents support practice owners in both identifying and eliminating acute problems in their management that lead to work overload, stress and demotivation, and in proactively orienting their business management towards the future.