Business intelligence in GP and specialist practices: Every practice owner needs to know these five figures on practice management

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

Business intelligence (BI) in a medical practice is an approach to collecting, analyzing and monitoring data to make informed decisions for practice management and patient care. The goal is to gain a better understanding of practice operations and performance to improve the bottom line and optimise patient service. Five indicators GPs and specialists use in particular.

The practice management problem

General practitioners and their staff work a lot, dedicatedly and long hours every day. But unfortunately, the results of the IFABS Business Comparison Tracker© for GP, specialist and dental practice management show that, on average, one third of the working time is used inefficiently and unproductively. It is therefore not surprising that in every practice there are on average 40 opportunities for improvement in practice management that significantly simplify the work and save time. Indicators, the so-called Key Performance Indicators (KPI), which can be easily and quickly determined for every doctor with the help of a Practice Management Comparison©, help to identify where these are.

Five key performance indicators are particularly important

With the help of the following scores, practice owners will be able to

  • quickly and precisely determine the status of their practice management and
  • systematically identify unused efficiency and productivity leeway,

in order to then achieve the work result realised so far with less effort or, with the same effort, a higher output.

The Best Practice Score (BPS)

The KPI „Best Practice Score“ (BPS) measures what proportion of those regulations, instruments and behaviours are implemented in a practice operation that ensure smooth functionality. The score thus shows the degree of activation of the management potential available to a GP or specialist practice, starting with planning and market research, through leadership, patient care, organisation, to self- and time management as well as controlling.

A simple classification scheme helps to determine the urgency and the need for necessary corrections of the practice work in a first analysis step:

  • if the BPS is above 80%, an almost optimal practice management performance has been achieved,
  • between 60% and 80%, a practice is in Improvable status, i.e. several changes are necessary to bring the practice management to a best practice level; their implementation is recommended, but not urgent,
  • in the range of 40% to 60%, the „Urgency-for-action“ status prevails, a large number of necessary adjustments should be tackled in the short term, as the efficiency and productivity of the practice work is clearly limited,
  • a BPS below 40% describes the reconstruction status; with a score in this range, the practice management must be fundamentally rebuilt.

Looking at the results of the IFABS Company Comparison Tracker©, the average BPS for GP practices, for example, is 45%, i.e. there is an urgent need for action in many practices.

The Reference-group Quality Score (RQS)

In their practice management, general practitioners and specialists usually work without any reference to the working methods in companies of the same specialist group. As a result, they miss out on important knowledge about their own service quality and their market position. The Reference Group Quality Score (RQS) closes this gap. The value is more than a „nice-to-have“, because it defines the minimum limit of a practice’s management that cannot be undercut. It represents the performance that patients can normally expect when visiting a comparable practice.

Teams that work at the level of the professional group standard have the relative certainty that their practice is working „normally“. However, this does not mean that they are operating as productively and efficiently as would be necessary for sustained success.

If a practice’s management or individual areas of action are below the professional group standard, this is an alarming situation that needs to be remedied immediately.

The Patient Care Quality Score (PCQS)

If the overall assessment of patient satisfaction is put in relation to the best practice standard, an assessment of the quality of care of a practice can be derived from the resulting Patient Care Quality Score (PCQS). The superiority of the 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 requirement/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.

The Organising Quality Score (OQS)

The importance of a professionally designed organisation in medical practices is obvious:

  • 80% of the occasions that cause hecticness, stress and annoyance in medical practices are based on organisational deficits,
  • 60% of the reasons patients criticise medical practices are related to organisational problems,
  • up to 25% of practice profits increase on average through comprehensive organisational optimisation,
  • 52% on average, the willingness of patients to recommend the practice to others improves as a result, 46% satisfaction.

In medical practices, however, only just under 43% of the regulations and instruments necessary for a smoothly functioning practice organisation are currently used on average – across all speciality groups and practice forms and sizes.

The Teamwork Quality Score (TQS)

Self-control, synergies, motivation, creativity, efficiency, productivity: the list of advantages of excellent teamwork is long. If the employees‘ assessments of the quality of collaboration are placed in relation to the best practice standard, i.e. the basic requirements for optimally functioning collaboration, an assessment of the collaboration quality of the staff can be derived from the resulting Teamwork Quality Score (TQS). The IFABS Company Comparison Tracker© evaluations show that in most medical practices the TQS is between 40% and 60%. According to the categorisation system of this KPI, only groups work there, not teams. Collaboration that falls into this area is characterised by a low synergy of individual activities: people work together, but always only within the framework that is given. Individual initiative or helping out with problems are rather rare. Moreover, cooperation is often characterised by unresolved conflicts. Although every medical assistant strives to do her job well, there is no sustained commitment to continuous improvement.