Mindset bugs in GP and specialist practices: „For patient surveys, the school grading scale is best.“

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s about

The results from patient surveys in GP and specialist practices often lead to wrong reactions on the part of the practice teams. Two reasons are responsible for this.

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 satisfaction reality, quite the opposite. Only a two-dimensional survey with the parallel collection of patients‘ requirements and their satisfaction can guarantee this.

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 illustrates how imprecise the school grade indicator is.

Improving without priorities

The second reason is the lack of possibility to prioritise the improvement needs resulting from the patients‘ statements with other methods than the PCQS. Only 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, which is not possible with school grades. 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 deduced.

At the same time, however, characteristics of the classification „core weaknesses“ and objectively determined high importance for adaptation are put on hold.