The Qualification of Practice Managers? A Comparison of Three European Countries

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2020.0363-0368

german translation / full article

Clemens Schricker, Jost Steinhäuser

Keywords: family medicine general practice interprofessional cooperation practice management strategy against GP shortage

BackgroundPhysician practice in Germany has been shifting towards cooperative, large scale practice in recent years. There are significant synergies offered by partaking in a joint practice with other physicians both from a professional and managerial point of view that can be harnessed if adequate resources and knowledge are provided to address the need for organization and coordination in growing physician practices. Such new requirements need specialized skills and training that are configured differently across different countries in Europe.MethodsBy means of an internet-based search to access the educational landscape in the realm of practice management in three countries (Germany, United Kingdom [UK] and Switzerland) findings were systematically compared in four dedicated areas: the institution, the intended recipient, the curriculum/program length and the obtained degree. Countries were compared within those categories in order to identify similarities and differences as well as to draw conclusions for the educational situation in Germany.ResultsA large variety of educational possibilities was found in the realm of practice management with a duration from a one-day course to three-year academic studies. However, a shared implicit understanding was found regarding practice management, team-leading and communication skills. Switzerland had the greatest extent of standardization by having a uniformly agreed-upon consecutive apprenticeship for practice management aimed at non-physician medical professionals, followed by the UK and Germany. ConclusionsThe wide variety of educational programs and their configuration in Germany is testament to the emerging need of large-scale physician practices for management knowledge and dedicated personnel, albeit there being no clear conception of the role of practice manager. A more standardized approach to the education of practice managers as seen in Switzerland creates a clear role and required competencies of a practice manager. This also creates clarity for employers in the practices.Keywordspractice management; general practice; family medicine; interprofessional cooperation; strategy against GP shortage

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