Experience the Definitive Advantage

Start a free trial today and get access to the most comprehensive source of healthcare provider data on the market.


How to Develop Your Hospital Benchmarking Plan

August 7, 2019 BY Alanna Moriarty

How to Develop Your Hospital Benchmarking Plan

Understanding and prioritizing areas of improvement for hospitals and care facilities can be difficult. There are financial, clinical, and quality metrics; competition with regional facilities; comparisons to care sites of similar size serving like patient populations, and more. Once hospital leaders decide on which measures to track, the sheer quantity of data can be overwhelming, making it difficult to create an effective plan of action.

Despite the difficulties surrounding data collection and utilization, hospital benchmarking is vital for ensuring optimal performance and cost savings. Benchmarking refers specifically to analyzing a facility’s performance and contrasting that data with a common standard, like those set by regulatory agencies, or with other organizations. Effective benchmarking can also serve as a marketing tool for high-performing care facilities, allowing administrators to tout their status as the hospital with the lowest readmission rates, shortest wait times, highest satisfaction scores, and more.

Below, we’ve compiled the information you need when implementing a hospital benchmarking plan.

Types of healthcare benchmarking

1. Internal benchmarking

Internal benchmarking is primarily useful for maintaining quality standards across multiple facilities in the same network. Hospital and care facility administrators can monitor performance in various departments to ensure patients have access to consistent care at each location.

Some of the most common performance metrics facility leaders track include patient satisfaction scores, 30-day readmissions, and rates of hospital-acquired conditions.

2. Competitive benchmarking

Competitive benchmarking is essentially what it sounds like – comparing your own facility or network performance with others. You can contrast your own benchmarks with facilities in your region, of similar size, or serving comparable patient populations.

This method is a way to learn from other facilities and improve your own workflows, taking notes on what does or does not work depending on hospital size, population demographics, or region.

3. Functional benchmarking

Functional benchmarking allows you to look outside your own vertical to incorporate effective strategies that might be new to your specialty or to healthcare in general. This includes operational data such as building age, financial collections, IT systems and security, and more.

For areas like IT, functional comparisons can be particularly helpful. Because healthcare providers interact with sensitive data, care facilities must be more vigilant than organizations outside the healthcare market. By analyzing the security measures of entities in other industries, healthcare leaders can implement the most effective strategies to reduce instances of hacking and data leakage.

4. Generic Benchmarking

Unlike the three prior benchmarking strategies, the purpose of generic benchmarking is solely to introduce out-of-the-box thinking. Similar to functional benchmarking, generic benchmarking compares healthcare workflows and processes to comparable procedures in other industries.

One example could be how providers collect patient feedback. Survey responses are often incentivized to encourage participation and are delivered via email or patient portals rather than sent in hard copy through the mail.

Where are benchmarks useful?

Hospital benchmarking can empower network and facility leaders in understanding their place among competitors and the healthcare market at large. In collecting and comparing data across comparable facilities, providers have the opportunity to improve patient access, care outcomes, and improve financial performance.

In a 2018 survey from Health Catalyst, 36 percent of respondents said integrating benchmarks into existing analytics would make it easier to collect and evaluate data. Additionally, 18 percent reported that easier access to benchmarking tools and the results would improve usefulness. This could open a door for IT developers to offer an application for electronic health record (EHR) systems that can streamline the data collection and utilization process for providers.

What influences where you implement benchmarks?

Roughly one-quarter of hospital improvement initiatives are driven by regulatory requirements, according to the Health Catalyst survey. Care improvement initiatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are the most common regulatory agents, incentivizing care facilities to prioritize patient care outcomes while simultaneously reducing costs. It can be difficult for providers to understand which metrics are most important to track and how to best apply performance data.

Some of the most essential hospital performance metrics include patient length of stay, 30-day readmissions, HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores, mortality rates, and bad debt.

Learn more

Interested in understanding how your hospital compares to other facilities regionally and nation-wide? Request a free trial of Definitive Healthcare’s comprehensive platform on hospitals and IDNs to access financial, clinical, and quality metrics from care sites across the U.S. With Definitive Healthcare, you can:

  • Analyze performance metrics for individual hospitals
  • Search and build custom reports based on specific metrics
  • Identify key improvement areas for a facility of your size in your region

Start Your Free Trial

Request A Demo