What it’s all about
In engineering, streamlining means constructing shapes with low air or water resistance in order to improve the speed and ease of movement. Applied to organisations, the term means an analysis and, if necessary, a redesign of practice management so that
- effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, but also the working conditions of the staff are improved and
- a business remains agile and active even under changing requirements and changing conditions of action.
Medical practices can also benefit from such an approach.
The benefits of streamlining
A smoothly functioning, i.e. formed, practice management is the central starting point for achieving all conceivable practice goals: reducing work pressure, increasing efficiency and productivity, further improving patient satisfaction, increasing success or securing the future. But how do practice owners manage to streamline their management adequately, even in the context of dynamically changing working conditions?
Practice management: one term for many interdependencies
The problem for GPs and specialists is predominantly that „practice management“ is a conglomerate of many different areas of action that are closely interlinked and, to a large extent, condition and influence each other. Only when these areas – from planning to patient management, leadership, organisation, marketing, market research and controlling – mesh with each other like finely tuned cogwheels does management excellence emerge that is malleable.
Classical solutions only help to a limited extent
In this context, the application of tips, tricks and advice provided to practice owners by various sources does not lead to a noticeable change in their work, because this is – as described – only possible in a holistic way.
Seminars sometimes impart knowledge on individual or several of these interdependencies, but the contents inevitably follow the principle of „one-size-fits-all“, so that the participating doctors – returning to their practices – have increased knowledge, but still no plan for concrete action.
The last resort is to use consultants, but a complete analysis of the practice management is too expensive for many doctors.
Streamlining is easy
A general practitioner or specialist who wants to streamline his practice management in the context of his goals, i.e. improve, develop or realign it, first needs a status description of his work. This is the starting point of the concept of Key Performance Indicators (KPI), which
- solves the aforementioned problem of the complexity of practice management by generating orientation parameters,
- makes it possible to determine the actual state of practice management without great effort and
- simultaneously identifies strengths, but also deficits as well as unused opportunities and risk factors.
With the results of this initial analysis, concrete target parameters for the practice work can be defined and monitored and controlled in a simple but comprehensive way by means of follow-up examinations.
How the indicators are created
KPIs are parameters that are created by comparing the practice management data of a medical practice with objective and representative measured variables. For this purpose, with the help of structured analysis forms (doctor, MFA, patients, referrers, if applicable), the design of the practice management is first described and made measurable via scaling in the later evaluation. In this way, not only the type and intensity of the regulations used for practice management are recorded, but also their effects, so that a kind of MRI image of the practice work is created.
Insights via benchmarking
This information is then subjected to a best practice and a specialist group benchmarking. The best practice comparison shows whether all the regulations, instruments and behaviours that ensure smooth practice operation are actually implemented. The specialist group ratio provides additional information on the extent to which the practice management under investigation meets the minimum market standard. From the KPIs determined
- results in a detailed status overview of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the examined practice with a detailed action plan for improvements, changes and developments, furthermore
- individual practice management development goals can be formed on the basis of the practice strategy and monitored with regard to progress in implementation.
Thus, a KPI status report corresponds to a balanced scorecard, a „streamlining plan“ for practice management.
„Easy-to-use“ and „Ready-to-go“
The special feature of the KPI concept is that the collection of the necessary information can be done solely by means of questionnaires that are easy to fill in, without the need for an on-site consultant:
- the doctor’s questionnaire takes about 30 minutes to complete,
- the MFA document is completed in about 20 minutes,
- in addition, a patient survey is carried out in which up to 100 practice visitors can be interviewed.
No specialist knowledge or supplementary materials are needed to complete the documents.
KPIs open up design possibilities
Based on the KPI status report created from the questionnaire data and the associated action plan, practice owners are able to decide whether they want to implement the listed suggestions themselves with their teams or resort to external help. In the second case, the prior preparation of the Balanced Scorecard leads to a significant cost saving, as the consulting objective for external help can be precisely delimited and defined.
The instrument for determining KPIs
is the Practice Management Comparison©.