Mastering the medical mindshift: Economic success is not an indication of the quality of practice management

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

General practitioners, specialists and dentists usually judge the success of their businesses on the basis of profit. However, it is not only a matter of which services are billed and how the resulting turnover relates to the costs, but it is also quite decisive with which labour input the practice result is generated.

The big mistake

Practice management comparisons show that medical and dental practices that are considered successful by their owners often have inadequately developed practice management. The benchmark for this is the best practice standard. It includes all instruments, regulations and behavioural patterns that are necessary for smoothly functioning work and the implementation of the practice strategy, even under changing pressures.

At present, however, German doctors and dentists implement on average only half of this validated reference. This means that the daily workload to achieve the „good result“ is significantly higher than it should be:

  • too much work is being done and the overtime resulting from this „too much“ as well as the work pressure are not necessary or
  • By realigning the practice management to the best practice standard, performance reserves can be tapped, which could either be used for a further improvement of patient care or for an increase in the provision of services, for example in the form of an expansion of the self-pay offer.

The four basic types of practice performance

If one considers the various possible constellations from the combination of satisfaction with the practice profit and the implementation of the best practice standard, four practice management performance types can be identified in medical practices:

  • If both parameters are excellently developed, it is a matter of High Performance, i.e. all possibilities of practice management are systematically and adequately implemented. About 15% of German medical practices fall into this group.
  • The opposite case is called low performance. Here there is an acute need for action. About 20% of the practices are affected.
  • We speak of misdirected performance when a low level of satisfaction with results meets a far-reaching realisation of the best practice building blocks. The misperformance in these enterprises is of a strategic nature and lies in the range of services. About 20% of the practice enterprises are affected.
  • Pronounced satisfaction with profit and low standard consideration lead to overworked performance (45% of practices). Here, resources are clearly overused, practice operations are clearly „running at too high a speed“.

How good is your practice management performance?

GPs and specialists who want to determine the quality of their practice management and identify as yet unused opportunities for improvement can use the Practice Management Comparison© for this purpose.