Benchmarking in healthcare has been a common practice since 1985. It involves comparing an organization’s performance metrics to a standard developed using data from other similar organizations. Benchmarking in healthcare is used as a tactic to understand where an organization’s performance stands in comparison with its peers, and the scope for improvement. Forward-thinking strategy leaders look to industry benchmark data in order to map out where they want to take their service line, practice or institution in the future. By applying the multitude of data to the organization’s strategic plan for success, the employees will be more willing to commit to execution and it will be easier to track the results. This blog drills down the four common types of benchmarking in healthcare and the benefits of each.
Types of Benchmarking in Healthcare
It is done between departments, divisions, or offices within the same healthcare organization. This is particularly important because several healthcare companies have their branches in multiple locations and might want to examine a particular set of measures across those locations. For instance, a hospital administrator might want to know which of their facilities score a higher rating for overall patient satisfaction. Monitoring such parameters across branches of the organization will help shed light on issues that need to be addressed and also prompt specific branches to improve their processes or practices.
Comparing the organization’s performance with that of the competitors or other peers in the industry is referred to as competitive benchmarking. This is one of the common types of benchmarking in healthcare, where it is essential for organizations to examine their performance metrics against hospitals and clinics serving in the same geographic area. It might also prove beneficial to look at hospitals and clinics that serve a different market or are in a different geographic location. Healthcare organizations can use this data to learn from one another and further improve their processes.
Functional benchmarking is one of the modern types of benchmarking in healthcare where the organization’s performance is compared to those in a different industry that may have a similar metric or process that healthcare companies can learn from. Functional benchmarking in healthcare is a useful tool for examining operational data.
Generic benchmarking in healthcare can be used to look beyond a data set and focus more on general processes. The idea behind such types of benchmarking in healthcare is to introduce new thinking in a healthcare organization. While the organization might not chart itself against the benchmark for actual comparison, they can use the new dataset to drive change in the organization. For instance, comparing the admission process rates in a hospital to the check-in process at a hotel chain may seem incomprehensible, but they both boil down to getting someone from one point to another. For healthcare companies looking to make significant improvements in their admission process or interested in any other metric that can be broken down in a more generic way, looking across a variety of companies or industries might prove to be helpful for benchmarking in healthcare.
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