Benchmarking: Healthcare Quality

Healthcare Quality Paper
April 23, 2024
Healthcare Quality Management
April 23, 2024
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Benchmarking: Healthcare Quality

In healthcare matters, benchmarking is a management tool for applying best practices at the optimum cost (Ettorchi-Tardy et al., 2012). Benchmarking allows for continuous improvement and enables the decision-makers in an organization to gauge the necessary improvement needed to reach and maintain satisfactory performance levels. It is a monitoring tool used to identify the effect of management, governance, logistical and clinical functions. Benchmarking involves identifying the benchmark, a comparison point, against which everything is compared.
Benchmarking is an important aspect of quality improvement in healthcare. It is a way to guarantee that organizational decisions are evidence based or data driven. Benchmarking involves analyzing evidence-based practices, best practices and standards with the aim of identifying potential improvement areas. When a new practice is implemented, the progress is measured by management in order to determine whether the new benchmark is being attained. Healthcare organizations are able to identify and implement improvement opportunities for their delivery systems through performance-improvement data. They are also able to monitor improvement with every change applied. Through management of this data gathered during benchmarking, management gets a better picture of how outcomes such as revenues and costs linked to patient care are achieved. When a healthcare organization is able to identify areas where performance is not up to the required standards, they are provided with data involving information on the necessary improvement targets and how to achieve them. Taking action on this data leads to quality improvement when adapted and utilized in the correct manner.
For information to be seamlessly flow and be transferred through the national health information infrastructure, data standards are necessary. With standardization of data, patient and clinical safety systems are able to share an information infrastructure where data is gathered and reused severally for different purposes in order to meet the wide data collection and reporting scope more efficiently. Standardization of data also leads to efficient integration of new knowledge into the decision-making process and enhancement of the care process. The implementation of health data standards also allows for interoperability across electronic health record systems and healthcare organizations at large. At the healthcare organization level, lack of data standardization has resulted in difficulties in sharing information between healthcare facilities and commercial clinic labs, between healthcare providers and pharmacies regarding prescriptions, and between medical insurance companies and healthcare organizations (Aspden, 2004). Interoperability enables clinicians to make accurate, up-to-date decisions by accessing patient data on the go thus improving patient safety. This data is encrypted and confined to specific verified data transfers. In summary interoperability leads to improved care quality, delivery efficiency, patient safety and ease in managing healthcare costs. Data standardization is also vital within and across organizations especially for the purposes of reporting. When data is gathered for organizational reporting involving quality indicators for compliance purposes proving care quality levels, the organization needs to ensure that the data it provides is comparable to other organization’s data. If this is not the case and data is not standardized, there is a risk of incorrectly interpreting the data and an inability to make comparisons on outcomes and results. This may further lead to financial worry if pay-for-performance is based on conforming with specific quality indicators (AHIMA, 2006).

As discussed above, benchmarking is one way to improve the performance quality of a healthcare organization by making comparison against similar institutions. There are several methods of healthcare benchmarking. The first is referred to as internal benchmarking. This involves benchmarking between divisions, offices or departments in the same clinic or hospital in order to compare outcomes and processes across different locations. For example, an administrator might be interested in knowing which clinic has a better patient satisfaction rate and why. Competitive benchmarking compares metrics to that of a competitor in order to gauge your competitiveness. An example is obtaining data from a hospital with a lower wait time in the same geographical location in order to learn if it is possible to implement at your facility. Functional benchmarking compares an organization’s performance to another organization in a different industry that uses similar metrics. Some of these metrics include, system availability or average collection time. For example, a hospital IT administrator may compare their system uptime to that of a hotel using the same IT infrastructure. Finally, generic benchmarking focuses on more abstract measures beyond a defined a data set. For example, a hospital might be interested in comparing their admission processing abilities to a hotel’s check in process with an aim of identifying any similar aspects for improvement (Foley et al., 2021).
There are a number of guiding factors to aid organizations in knowing who to benchmark against (Jackson et al., 2021). Organizations should benchmark against organizations with similar focus and type. Geographical regions have a higher probability of having similar operating conditions and thus serve as a good benchmarking guide. It is also beneficial to benchmark against organizations in the same regulatory environment and demographic climate.








AHIMA. (2006). Data Standard Time: Data Content Standardization and the HIM Role. Retrieved 7 August 2021, from

Aspden, P. (2004). Patient safety. National Acad. Press.

Ettorchi-Tardy, A., Levif, M., & Michel, P. (2012). Benchmarking: A Method for Continuous Quality Improvement in Health. Healthcare Policy | Politiques De Santé7(4), E101-E119.

Foley, A., Weaver, J., Goggin, M., & Weaver, J. (2021). 4 Types Of Benchmarking In Healthcare (& The Benefits Of Each). ClearPoint Strategy. Retrieved 7 August 2021, from

Jackson, T., Weaver, J., & Goggin, M. (2021). Healthcare Benchmarking: Who Should You Compare Against Your Organization?. ClearPoint Strategy. Retrieved 7 August 2021, from