Mindset bugs in outpatient medicine: „We work together as a team!“

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

The results of the IFABS Practice Management Tracker© show that for the most part there are no „real“ teams working in GP and specialist practices, only groups. As a result, practice owners negligently limit the efficiency and productivity of their operations, reduce the quality of patient care, increase costs and reduce their success. Viewed in aggregate, however, the performance of outpatient medicine as a whole also suffers as a result.

The team fallacy

The productivity of groups is on average one third lower than that of „real“ team structures; more time is spent than would be necessary for teamwork. Consequently, the same work results could be achieved with less effort, stressors eliminated and careless mistakes prevented. Equally, however, it would also be possible to achieve a higher output with the same time input. At the same time, this situation proves that the argument often put forward by doctors about a lack of time is not fundamentally valid.

What Insights Practice Owners Need

The reason for this is leadership errors, because goal achievement alone is often used as a team characteristic and cooperation is evaluated on the basis of subjective assessments. But an outwardly intense engagement of all staff is not yet productive work. Rather, practice owners need knowledge – not assumptions – about the following:

  • Team Experience Portfolio (TEP)

What is the current self-image of team members, broken down into a description of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as a result of past collaborative experiences?

  • Overall Team Satisfaction (OTS)

How do the team members generally rate their framework of action in comparison with their requirements?

  • Team Harmony Balance (THB)

How pronounced is the degree of agreement among team members in evaluating their working framework? This information can also be used as an indicator of the potential for conflict within the team.

  • Teamwork Quality Score (TQS)

How far is the quality of cooperation in the sense of implementing „real“ teamwork developed? Often the members interact only as a community, group or alliance of purpose.

  • Return on Management (ROM)

What impact do team building measures have on teamwork quality?

  • Team Development Options (TDO)

What ideas and suggestions exist from the employee’s point of view that help to further improve teamwork?

A simple team check

GPs and specialists who not only want to check the above-mentioned characteristics for their practice, but also want to examine the entire practice management and its effects for as yet unused opportunities for improvement, can use the Practice Management Comparison© for this purpose.