Outpatient medicine: Why practice owners wait years to remove work pressure

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

A large proportion of GPs and specialists and their medical assistants complain about the daily work pressure as well as stress and demotivation that result from this. But on average it takes three years before concrete activities are started to put an end to the „suffering“. Half an hour of medical working time would be enough.

One problem, many reasons

There are many reasons why doctors hesitate for so long to improve the working situation of their establishments. These include:

  • Lack of time: the workload and overload are often so great that there is supposedly no time at all to take care of practice management themselves or to seek external help.
  • Financial concerns: Many doctors consider the use of professional support to be very expensive and lack the yardsticks to judge whether it is worthwhile for them to invest money in this area.
  • Toxic mindsets: Doctors‘ associations and interest groups never tire of blaming bureaucracy, TI projects and excessive patient demands for the overload of doctors‘ practices. But reality shows a different picture, as the real problem is the practice management insufficiency of the outpatient sector, which prevents practice teams from adequately dealing with the aforementioned aspects.
  • Lack of awareness: Some doctors focus their attention solely on the symptoms of the negative situation, but do not realise that their practice management as a whole is a problem.
  • Shame: Some doctors are afraid to admit that they have difficulties with practice management because they fear that this will affect their reputation.
  • Overwhelm: Practice management with its action components and interdependencies is extremely complex. In view of these facts, practice owners do not feel up to the task of trying to manage an improvement on their own.
  • Fear of change: Other doctors fear that change will lead to uncomfortable or undesirable effects.

Remedy in 30 minutes

It is against this background that the Practice Management Comparison was developed. The system, which has been tried and tested and validated for twenty years, makes it possible, without the use of an on-site consultant, to compare the entire practice management of a general practitioner’s or specialist’s practice, as well as the effects achieved with it, with two reference benchmarks:

  • the specialist group standard, which represents the realities of practice management in practices of one’s own speciality, and
  • the best practice standard, i.e. the regulations, instruments and behavioural patterns that guarantee smoothly functioning practice operations. It is made up of the practice management conditions in above-average successful medical practices and the basic principles necessary for business management.

The comparison is suitable for all specialities, types and sizes of practice and generates an action plan with an average of forty as yet unused optimisation opportunities for each practice examined. The time required is minimal: approx. thirty minutes of doctors‘ working time to document the management of the practice, 10 minutes per employee doctor, twenty minutes per MFA, supplemented by a patient survey.