Benchmarking

Examples: 

Workflow-Related Questions for Benchmarking (PDF, 675KB)

Description: 

Benchmarking is a process of evaluating metrics or best practices from other organizations (either related or unrelated to your own) and then applying them to your organization.

Uses: 

To find more options for potential solutions.

To bring in new ideas from outside your organization.

To determine what level of quality is possible and then specify areas that can be improved.

How do I use this tool?: 

1. IDENTIFY WHAT IS TO BE BENCHMARKED. Be specific.

2. DECIDE WHICH ORGANIZATIONS AND FUNCTIONS TO BENCHMARK. Compare both against industry peers and other prominent organizations that perform similar functions.

3. DETERMINE THE DATA COLLECTION METHOD AND COLLECT DATA. Maintain simplicity in the data collection process and realize that there is no absolute right way to benchmark. What is important is to look for new and innovative means of improving the process you are evaluating.

4. CONTACT A PEER IN THE BENCHMARK ORGANIZATION. Explain what your study is doing and what kind of information you want. Assure them that you will not be requesting any confidential information. Ask questions about their organization to determine what they are doing, why they do it, how they evaluate the process and performance, and find out what practices have been successful and which ones have not.

5. DETERMINE WHETHER WHAT THE TEAM HAS LEARNED FROM BENCHMARKING CAN BE APPLIED to improve the organization’s process. Can you identify innovative ways to improve the process? Always think about solutions that may have been overlooked.

Expertise Required: 
This tool is easy to use and requires little or no training.
Advantages: 

Develops innovative solutions to problems.

Creates ambitious but attainable goals.

Can significantly improve performance.

Disadvantages: 

Requires long-term commitment.

Can be laborious and time consuming.

Competitors may not share information or have it available to the public.

Where can I go to learn more?: 

American Society for Quality. Organization-wide approaches: benchmarking. 2009 [cited 2009 June 23]; Available from: http://www.asq.org/learn-about-quality/benchmarking/overview/overview.html

George M, Rowlands D, Price M, et al. Selecting and testing solutions. The lean six sigma pocket toolbook. New York: McGraw - Hill; 2005. p. 253-76.

Medical Group Management Association. MGMA practice dashboards. 2009 [cited 2009 July 10].

Woodcock E. The lean-thinking revolution. Mastering patient flow: using lean thinking to improve your practice operations. 3rd ed. Englewood: Medical Group Management Association; 2009. p. 11-40.