Medical practice management: Looking to the future with the benchmarking method

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

The „secret“ of sustainably successful medical practices lies in their stable relationships with patients and in their proactive energy within the business. Owners of such practices succeed in fully activating the potential of their staff and productively inspiring them for the practice’s goals.

Dimensions of the position check

The Future Perspectives Check, which practice management benchmarking also makes possible, shows how pronounced the factors that are strategically relevant for the future development of a practice are. In detail, these are the following parameters:

  • The extent of proactive energy is defined by means of the best practice standard. It describes all regulations, instruments and behaviours that are necessary for a practice to function smoothly even under changing requirements. The more comprehensively it is applied, the more pronounced the proactive energy.
  • Relationship stability can be derived from the quality of care perceived by patients, indexed by the Patient Care Quality Score (PCQS, the ratio of patient demands and satisfaction). The better the care is rated, the more intensive is the commitment of the patients.

The practice types

With the help of the above-mentioned variables, four basic practice types with different future perspectives can be defined:

  • The marginal practice

Proactive energy and relationship stability are poorly developed, practices of this type suffer from permanent work pressure, poor working atmosphere, dissatisfied patients, are not very agile and have great problems integrating changes into their work. The practice result is sufficient, but comparatively low. About 30% of German practice operations fall into this category.

  • Opportunity practice

In this type of practice, patient loyalty is very strong, but there is a positive working atmosphere. However, there are deficits in efficiency and productivity, which leads to a comparatively high workload and a tendency towards low practice results. Approximately 40% of medical practices can be described in this way.

  • Risk practice

Here the work is characterised by high efficiency and productivity, but the way it is implemented puts a strain on both internal and external relations (keyword: „assembly line operation“). The operating result is excellent, but always characterised by a strong trend towards patient outflow and high staff turnover due to low identification with the practice. In most cases, staff work „by the book“. About 20% of the practices belong to this group.

  • Future practice

In this type of practice, everything is right: practice management, team leadership and quality of care are almost entirely in line with best practice. This results in a positive momentum with a high level of attraction for new patients and a high level of loyalty for regular patients. The staff is characterised by a high level of enthusiasm for their work and identifies strongly with the practice; the practice result is optimal. Just under 20% of GP and specialist practices make up this sector.