Medical practice benchmarks, simply put, are quantitative standards or references by which others can be measured and/or judged. Using benchmarks is a common practice by The Fox Group while conducting a Medical Practice Evaluation. We frequently encourage practices to use performance benchmarks as an effective monitoring tool. However, knowing what benchmarks to use, and how to interpret your practice's performance compared to established objectives and norms is where our years of experience in healthcare business operations can make all the difference.
Medical Practice Benchmarks have Different Origins
Formal benchmarks can be useful metrics for assessing a practice, as well as for monitoring its ongoing performance. They can provide not only goals, but can be used as reference points that make it easy to recognize when performance is shifting from norms (good or bad) ... triggering the need to determine causes and to act accordingly.
Internal medical practice benchmarks are those which are based on the organization's own internal operations. These benchmarks are established based on historical norms and/or best past performance of the healthcare organization.
External medical practice benchmarks are those that are based on the most common performance measurements of like businesses on specified performance criteria. Often times these are further segregated into geographic regions in an attempt to provide more meaningful comparisons where the results are more likely made up of practices with similar payors, wages, and other demographics.
One of the problems with comparisons to "average" or "above average" performance is that these averages say little about what "optimal" performance really is. For this type of benchmark, some healthcare organizations are good candidates for what is called "Data Envelopment Analysis" (DEA), a highly specialized method of benchmarking that focuses on optimal performance targets based on both quantitative and qualitative factors.
Selecting Medical Practice Benchmarks that will Make a Difference
Merely comparing one's practice performance to external benchmarks does little to change outcome. And using one's own prior history as a means of judging performance may cause an organization to simply repeat poor practices without ever realizing the missed opportunities of true success. The Fox Group can help your organization to properly identify what methods to use and how to best monitor selected performance criteria based on your medical practice's profile and needs.
If you're interested in learning more about the effective use of benchmarks in your practice, about identifying measurable criteria, and about the establishment of reporting systems that allow you to quickly recognize trends and success, contact us. We'll be happy to provide you with answers and insight regarding how performance indicators can help guide your medical practice toward success.