GP and specialist practice management: Using key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage teamwork quality

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

Doctors who want to improve, develop or realign their practice management need concrete goals as a basis for control. The concept of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) provides the necessary tools.

Target setting at a glance

Goals are anticipated ideas that doctors and dentists develop about the results of their practice activities. They answer the question „What do I want to achieve with my practice work?“ and must be defined for each area of practice management, taking into account the practice strategy (hold, grow, reduce).

Goals play an important role in guiding practice work by providing clear guidelines and directives for practice staff. Here are some possibilities for goal formulations:

  • Improving patient satisfaction: One goal could be to increase patient satisfaction by, for example, paying attention to communication with patients, minimising waiting times or improving the quality of medical care.
  • Increasing efficiency: Another goal could be to improve efficiency in the practice by optimising work processes, promoting the use of digital technologies and specialising staff in certain tasks.
  • Increasing profitability: Increasing profitability is also a goal, for example by finding an approach to increase the number of patients per day.
  • Improving working conditions: The goal here is to reduce the workload or provide training for continuing education.
  • Compliance with regulations and quality standards: for example, in terms of improving documentation or complying with hygiene regulations.

By setting goals, practices can better manage their work and align their staff towards common goals. Goal setting can help achieve better organisation and coordination, resulting in higher productivity and efficiency.

Target setting with KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are an important tool for steering with goals. These are key performance indicators that are created by comparing (benchmarking) a practice’s practice management data with objective and representative measures:

  • the best practice comparison shows the extent to which the regulations, instruments and behaviours that ensure smooth practice operation are actually implemented,
  • the professional group ratio provides additional information on the extent to which the practice management under investigation corresponds to the minimum market standard.
  • In addition, the KPIs also measure the effect of practice management on patient and staff satisfaction and the suitability of practice management for realising the practice strategy,

so that a kind of MRI image of the practice’s work is created, from which the goals can then be derived as a basis for control.

Status and planning basis

The practice data is collected by means of structured analysis forms (doctor, medical assistant, patient, referrer, if applicable), the contents of which are made measurable via scaling in the subsequent evaluation. In this way

  • the status quo of practice management is determined as a starting point for setting goals; this includes the strengths, but also the deficits, all unused opportunities and existing risk factors of practice management as well as the possibilities for improvement,
  • concrete target parameters for the practice work can be defined and monitored and controlled simply and comprehensively by means of follow-up examinations.

Example: The Teamwork Quality Score (TQS)

How KPI-based analysis, target setting and control work can be described using the example of the key performance indicator „Teamwork Quality Score“ (TQS): if one relates the basic conditions for functioning teamwork to its staff evaluation, an assessment of the current collaboration quality of the staff can be derived from the resulting Teamwork Quality Score (TQS). The following criteria apply:

  • TQS > 80%: Team

Teamwork is characterised by common goals, largely autonomous task completion, mutual complementarity and support, as well as self-directed problem solving and self-initiated measures to improve work results.

  • TQS > 60% to <= 80%: Community

It is a mix of the characteristics of the group and the team, but still lacks crucial aspects in the collaboration to achieve a complete synergy of cooperation that make up the productivity and efficiency of a team.

  • TQS > 40% to <= 60%: Group

Collaboration that falls into this range is characterised by a low synergy of individual activities: people work together,

but 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.

  • TQS 0 to <= 40% Special-purpose association

In this case, work performance is characterised by „service by the book“ and „lone wolf“ behaviour.

If the initial situation of cooperation was determined in this way, the desired goal for team building can now be derived in the form of a plan score and checked and controlled in regular follow-ups.

The concrete implementation

General practitioners and specialists who

  • optimise their practice management using KPIs without the need for an on-site consultant, and
  • would like to identify an average of almost 40 opportunities for improvement in their practice work,

the Practice Management Comparison© is available to them.