Practice value: GPs and specialists who don’t digitise their businesses lose out

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

GPs and specialists often misinterpret the term „digitisation“ and make a strategic mistake that will also have a negative impact on practice value.

Physicians see themselves as part of the digital mainstream

Medical professional organisations and interest groups counter the accusation that general practitioners and specialists are not very open to digitalisation and are extremely hesitant in implementing it with the argument that medical practices have already been digitalised for a long time. As proof, they point to a large number of applications already in use, currently video consultation hours, online appointment systems or network-compatible medical devices.

Single solutions dominate

As correct as the description of the situation is, it is wrong to speak of digitalised medical practices, because a doctor who, for example, uses the video consultation hours mentioned, but at the same time works with index cards, does not run a transformed practice. Even working with PDF scans is only superficially digital if, for example, the laboratory values listed in them cannot be accessed directly. But these considerations lull many practice owners into the certainty that they are already well positioned digitally.

The system counts

One can only speak of a digitisation of the medical practice if there is a comprehensive transformation of the practice system, i.e. the entire workflow, including the associated information and communication processes. This constellation alone leads to benefits for patients, practice teams and cooperation partners. However, so far only a few practices fall under this criterion.

Non-digitised doctors lose out

If one analyses the transformation developments in other sectors, it becomes clear how urgently general practitioners and specialists must change their view of individual applications to a system view, because it can be deduced,

that in about five years a practice without a fully digitalised practice management system will have a market value close to zero in the case of a sale or cooperation, even if the profit development is positive.

The reason is that it is far too high an investment for a potential buyer or partner to bring the analogue operation up to the then applicable state of the art level.

Poor implementation prospects for groups

In addition to the wrong view of digitisation, another hurdle for practice owners on the path to transformation is the requirement that a system implementation needs professional teamwork based on a smoothly functioning practice management. Currently, however, most practices do not work in teams, but only in groups. This form of cooperation 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. Collaboration is also often characterised by unresolved conflicts. Although every medical assistant strives to do her job well, there is no sustained commitment to continuous improvement. This means that an essential prerequisite for outpatient change management is not met.

Practice management insufficiency also has an effect

In addition, there is the central problem of physicians in private practice, practice management insufficiency. This term describes the situation in which, on average, slightly less than half of the regulations, instruments and behavioural patterns that are necessary for flexible and stable practice management are not even used in doctors‘ practices. This constellation makes the transformation process more difficult, as the daily struggle with one’s own resources is extremely labour-intensive and time-consuming.

Transparency as the first step

In order to be able to develop a digital strategy for their business at all, practice owners first need a status analysis of their practice management. The most suitable tool for this is a Practice Management Comparison©. Its performance features:

  • can be carried out cost-effectively at any time without an on-site consultant.
  • low workload: 30 minutes of doctor’s working time, 20 minutes per MFA and 2 minutes per patient (up to 100 can be surveyed).
  • 7 analyses in one package: best practice benchmarking, comparison of specialist groups, staff and patient survey, SWOT, portfolio and optimisation analysis.
  • Objective and representative 360-degree assessment of practice work based on practice management descriptions from more than 15,000 practice operations.

The result is a comprehensive, easy-to-understand expertise that not only illuminates the status of practice management in detail, but also provides an average of 40 concrete and immediately implementable suggestions for improvement for optimising daily work and thus for gaining quality of work as well as freedom of decision and action.