The three reasons that are really holding back digitization in the ambulatory sector

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

The transformation of work in primary care and specialty practices is making slow progress. Physician representatives and advocacy groups cite immature technology, unsatisfactory reimbursement and unresolved data privacy issues as the main reasons. But these aspects are not causal.

Reason 1: The thinking error

Physicians in private practice equate the telematics infrastructure (TI) with digitization. But this „compulsory exercise“ is only a micro-building block of the transformation possibilities that can be used in doctors‘ practices, starting with speech recognition and ending with artificial intelligence (AI).

The type and scope of digitization, beyond TI, is primarily an individual and personal entrepreneurial-strategic decision of the individual physician with regard to the development of his or her practice operations.

Reason 2: Misguided Mindsets

AI is supposed to replace the doctor, patients don’t want digitization, doctor-patient contact is endangered: the medical discussion on the topic is characterized by a multitude of factually incorrect dogmas. In addition, there are warnings from professional organizations and, unfortunately, exaggerated claims from providers of digital solutions.

For GPs and specialists accustomed to standards, this results in irritation and, as a consequence, restraint, inactivity and rejection.

Reason 3: Inadequate management

On average, physicians in private practice do not use almost 50% of the best practice standard of practice management. It includes all instruments, regulations and behaviors that ensure smoothly functioning work even under changing pressures. This leads to the well-known phenomena such as lack of time, work overload, stress or demotivation, which, contrary to all claims, are not predominantly caused by bureaucratization.

This systemic disease, known as practice management insufficiency, prevents practice owners from even being able and willing to engage with digital change opportunities for their work.

For this reason, even early-adopter physicians, who currently make up 20% of the physician workforce, regularly conduct practice analyses to optimize the overall functionality of their operations for efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. One way to do this is through the Practice Management Operational Comparison©.