Developing outpatient medicine: How operational blindness is holding back progress

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s about

Many primary care and specialty physician practices operate inefficiently and with significantly limited productivity due to severely developed operational blindness.

How operational blindness occurs

Practice owners act operationally blind when they work on the basis of once-established routines that make it possible to do the necessary workload more or less well, but are never reviewed and suggest through their supposedly good functionality that no need for change is necessary or possible. If, in addition, the qualitative and / or quantitative output remains stable in the long term and there is no option of comparison with other actors and structures, this reinforces the impression of the physicians that they are doing exactly the right thing.

Tracking the effects of operational blindness

In an exploration, practice management operational comparisons were conducted in fifty practice settings whose owners reported having a near-optimal work structure. This analysis includes a double benchmarking comparison of the studied operation. One reference is the best practice standard, which includes all the tools, procedures, and behaviors necessary for smoothly functioning operations, even under changing demands. This is supplemented by a comparison with the practice management of the specialist group.

A clear result

The company comparisons yielded an average of 45 previously unused improvement approaches for each company, a total of over 2,200 possibilities that could be implemented immediately by the physicians and their medical assistants on their own initiative. This result illustrates the immense unused performance potential in the outpatient sector, the activation of which can not only facilitate working conditions in practices, but also improve the quality of care for patients.

All information on the Practice Management Comparison© at a glance (German)…