In early 2017, we launched the ClearPoint Measures Library, which allows municipalities to come together and compare their performance measures. This tool has proven to be so useful and have so many advantages that we are now in the process of creating a measure library for several other industries—including healthcare. (It should be live in 2017, so keep an eye out!)
But before we got ahead of ourselves, we wanted to first take some time to describe what solid benchmarking looks like in the healthcare space—and the benefits of each different type.
4 Types Of Benchmarking In Healthcare (& The Benefits Of Each)
#1: Internal Benchmarking
Internal benchmarking takes place between departments, divisions, or offices within the same hospital or clinic. This is particularly important because many healthcare organizations have many locations and want to examine a particular set of measures across those locations.
For example, as a hospital administrator, you may want to know whether your southeast clinic or your northeast clinic scores higher for overall patient satisfaction. Monitoring this measure across all branches of the organization may shed light on issues that need to be addressed and help specific branches improve their processes or practices.
Pro tip: Internal benchmarking is often best tracked using a performance management software solution instead of in a measures library or a benchmarking consortium. This way, you can easily keep track of changes on a regular basis and produce monthly or quarterly reports highlighting the results.
#2: Competitive Benchmarking
You’ll likely want to compare your metrics directly to your competitors’ or peers’—which is known as competitive benchmarking.
You’ll want to be certain you examine your metrics against hospitals and clinics serving in the same geographic area to be sure you’re competitive against those in your market. And you’ll also want to look at hospitals and clinics that serve a different market or are in a different geographic location. Because you aren’t competing against these entities, you can use the data to learn from one another and further improve your processes. Sometimes this information is quite easy to find. In Washington, D.C. for example, you can see each hospital’s wait times.
#3: Functional Benchmarking
Functional benchmarking is used to compare your organization to those in a different industry that may have a similar metric or process you could learn from. Functional comparisons are great for looking at operational data. Things like average collection time, system availability, and average building age all lend themselves to functional comparisons.
For example, at our yearly Performance Management Summit every year, we see performance managers from a wide variety of industries come together and learn about one another’s processes. For instance, this year, a discussion took place that centered around what a healthcare agency in Canada and a municipality in Florida have in common—they both have IT offices that need to track metrics like internal and external systems availability. In discussing this, they determined several things they could each do in order to improve their IT system processes.
#4: Generic Benchmarking
While they’re a bit more abstract than competitive and functional benchmarks, generic benchmarks can be used to look beyond a data set and focus more on general processes. The idea behind generic benchmarks is to introduce new thinking in your healthcare organization. While you might not chart yourself against the benchmark for an actual comparison, you might use the new dataset to drive change in your organization.
For example, a hospital might compare their admission process rates to the check-in process at a hotel chain. Examining these two processes side by side may seem incomprehensible, but when you boil it down, both focus on getting someone from one point to another. If you’re looking to make significant improvements in your admission process, or are interested in any other metric that can be broken down in a more generic way, looking across a variety of companies or industries is helpful.
Anyone who’s taken part in benchmarking knows that it’s critical but not simple. Internally, it’s important to know that no part of your organization is falling behind the rest. Externally, it’s important to understand how those in the market around you are doing. And from a functional or generic perspective, it’s important to look past the similarities in company or industry to see how you could learn from a particular process.
If the Healthcare Measure Library sounds intriguing to you, get in touch with us. We’re happy to give you a tour of our software and keep you apprised of when the new functionality will be available.