Reducing workload for general practitioners and specialists: 10 questions and answers on the practice management comparison©

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

Why is practice management so important?

The term „practice management“ refers to the totality of all regulations, instruments, measures and behaviour,

  • which are used in the action areas of planning, organisation, market research, leadership and cooperation, time and self-management, patient management, marketing and financial management of medical practices of all disciplines and
  • whose interaction guarantees the operation of the practice.

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 comprehensive assistance,
  • it also determines how quickly practice teams can react to changes of any kind, implement them and benefit from them (example: digitalisation),
  • and last but not least, it affects costs, turnover and profit.

How good is the quality of practice management in German GP and specialist practices?

In this context, smoothly functioning practice management is based on the implementation of the best practice standard, i.e. the systematic use of business management methods, instruments and management behaviours that ensure that internal and external demands on practice work are met even under changing pressures.

At present, however, German doctors implement only half of this standard on average.

For whom is the Praxismanagement-Betriebsvergleich© suitable in this context?

This business comparison, which can be used in all specialties, practice forms and sizes, is a proven and validated system that has been used for twenty years to examine the implementation of the best practice standard in medical practices and to rank it in the specialty group relation. The double benchmarking ensures an objective and realistic assessment of the practice management situation.

It is irrelevant here whether a practice team is already burdened with noticeable problems or not. In the former case, it identifies the causes and names solutions; in the latter situation, it offers the option of uncovering hidden risk factors and previously unused opportunities. In the case of a start-up, takeover or cooperation, its implementation is mandatory.

What does the Praxismanagement-Betriebsvergleich© examine in detail?

The objects of investigation are all regulations and instruments of practice management, from planning to organisation, leadership, marketing and IGeL work, self-management, etc. to controlling. In addition, teamwork quality, patient satisfaction and willingness to recommend are also included.

How it is done

The Practice Management Business Comparison© can be carried out without the need for an on-site consultant. The necessary doctor, staff and patient data is collected with the help of questionnaires. The entire analysis, from the provision of the described questionnaires to the evaluation of the documents sent in and the sending of the results report, can be purchased via the IFABS online shop.

What are the benefits for doctors?

The comparison enables practice owners to

  • see where their practice „stands“ (qualitative comparison of operations)
  • find out to what extent the practice work is suitable for implementing their practice strategy with precision,
  • identify which misalignments in practice management can lead to an impairment of everyday work and to dissatisfied patients,
  • review all regulations, instruments and procedures necessary for a smoothly functioning practice,
  • determine whether threatening risk factors and
  • find out which hitherto unused opportunities exist in practice management.

On average, the study identifies 40 approaches for optimising practice work.

What distinguishes the approach from others?

Unlike on-site consultants, whose subjective opinions are included in the results, the check-up works with representative best practice and – unique in Germany – specialist group comparisons, which practice consultants do not have at their disposal. In this way, it provides an overview of practice management quality measured by objective parameters. The benchmarking is based on an expert system with doctor, MFA, patient and referrer descriptions of practice management from more than 15,000 medical practices.

A second aspect is the costs: if the financial expenditure for on-site consultants is calculated on the basis of an average hourly rate of 225 €, which quickly adds up to 3,000 € for an all-round examination, the entire company comparison is available at the hourly rate level with a greater gain in knowledge.

How much effort is required to carry out the survey in practice?

The validated questionnaires are largely filled in by tick box, no prior knowledge and no additional documents are necessary. The processing times:

  • Doctor’s questionnaire: approx. 30 minutes,
  • MFA questionnaire: approx. 20 minutes,
  • Patient questionnaire: approx. 2 minutes (up to 100 patients can be questioned)

How are the results communicated?

  • Within the framework of the evaluation, key figures are formed from the data. They make it possible to make the complex construct of practice management transparent and to present it clearly in its nature and interrelationships. Through a practice-proven categorisation, an exact determination of one’s own practice situation can be made and the possible need for action can be determined. The indicators also enable the derivation of quality goals and their monitoring over time by means of follow-up analyses.
  • The detailed evaluation report demonstrates all essentials by means of clear diagrams, explanations of all illustrations and clear summary graphics condense the results.
  • An „optimeter“ describes in detail the possibilities for improvement of the practice work, an expert report explains the practice management status and points out hidden risk factors.
  • A certificate of completion of the analysis rounds off the service package.

What services does the analysis include?

The package, which can be accessed online, includes the following services:

  • Provision of the analysis documents (copy templates) in PDF format
  • Recording of the incoming completed questionnaires
  • Data evaluation incl. benchmarking comparison
  • Preparation of the analysis report with expertise
  • Sending of the analysis report in PDF format by e-mail.