Digitisation of GP and specialist practices: The curse of inaction

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

The current plans of the Federal Ministry of Health for the digitalisation of the health care system will put many GPs and specialists under pressure. The reason for this will not be the digitisation itself and possible mishaps, but the misalignment of the practice’s internal processes.

A bad starting position

In medical practices, about half of the regulations, instruments and procedures that are necessary for work to function smoothly even under changing demands are currently not being used. However, before processes are digitised, they should ideally be analysed and optimised to ensure that they are clearly defined, efficient and meaningful. If the process is already working poorly, it can be difficult to simply digitise it in its existing form, as this further reinforces inefficient ways of working and unclear steps.

Missing perspectives

In addition, very few practice owners have a plan and goals for how they will ideally integrate digital capabilities into their practice work. But pure implementation by default is compulsory fulfilment without meaning.

##Implementation barrier staff

Last but not least, digital solutions can only be integrated and used advantageously in daily work if the medical assistants work together in team form. However, most GP and specialist practices are characterised by collaboration as a group or special-purpose group due to insufficient leadership intensity or incorrect measures. As a result, there is no synergy between the individual activities. People work together, but only within the framework given to the individual staff member. Individual initiative or helping out with problems is rare. Moreover, the 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. In the worst case, work performance is characterised by „duty by the book“ and „lone wolf behaviour“.

Benchmarking optimises the foundation

Against this background, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive practice analysis before establishing digital tools. The simplest, quickest and most cost-effective solution is to use the method of practice management benchmarking. How the convenience approach, which can be carried out without the need for an on-site consultant, works and what it achieves is described in detail in the publication: „Benchmarking practice management for GPs and specialists – method, application and benefits“. It is free of charge for GPs and specialists; the code needed for the free download can be requested by e-mail to post@ifabs.de, stating the practice address.