Hidden stumbling blocks of GP and specialist practice management: Misinterpretations in patient surveys

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

The results of patient surveys in GP and specialist practices often lead to wrong reactions on the part of the practice teams, because incorrect results lead to wrong conclusions.

School grading scale? No thanks!

The first reason is the use of an inappropriate survey method. Usually, the school grading scale is used. But it does not lead to a depiction of the reality of satisfaction, quite the opposite. This is only guaranteed by a two-dimensional survey with the parallel collection of patients‘ requirements and their satisfaction.

The superiority of the resulting Patient Care Quality Score (PCQS) in terms of objectivity and realism compared to the school grading system is shown by the result of a comparison: if school grades and requirements/satisfaction values are collected in parallel, the grade „3“, for example, is associated with PCQS values between 31.4 % and 54.7 %. The range makes it clear how little precise the school grade value is.

Improving without priorities

The second reason is the lack of possibility to prioritise the needs for improvement resulting from the patients‘ statements with other methods than the PCQS. By comparing requirements and satisfaction, it is possible to distinguish between core strengths (weaknesses) and marginal strengths (weaknesses). This makes it possible to clearly determine the importance and urgency of the measures. It is not uncommon that

  • Identified organisational deficits are subjectively assessed by practice teams as being of high importance and given first priority for change,
  • but in reality they are to be classified as marginal weaknesses from which only an urgency for correction can be derived.

At the same time, however, characteristics classified as „core weaknesses“ and objectively determined to be of high importance for adjustment are put on hold.

The determination of the PCQS score and the prioritisation of results are central components of The Valetudo Check-up© „Patient Satisfaction Medical Practice“, the „small practice analysis“. More information (German)…