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Dec 28, 2021

Benchmarking is an important tool for identifying areas of improvement. The Department of Health defines it as:

a process by which comparisons are made between organizations to identify best practices. Benchmarks can focus on service features, business processes, outcome measures or any other aspect of performance that is important to achieving excellence in the provision of health care.

Benchmarking assesses both internal and external information. Internal information looks at how effective current systems are, whereas external information provides an overall picture of the sector. For example, identifying if similar organizations are providing high-quality care by carrying out their own audits on patient feedback and mortality rates.

Benchmarking is used to identify areas where organizations are performing well, allowing them to be replicated elsewhere. Areas that need improvement can then be looked at in more detail and strategies put in place to ensure they are resolved.

The Essence of Care document identifies 12 general topics for benchmarking, one of which is Communication comprised entirely of 11 different measuring points. It also provides tips and ideas about how you should use these measurements so they reflect whats important with regards to patient health outcomes as well as staff satisfaction levels. An outline of this process is included below:

  • Prioritize the improvement of practices within your organization to ensure that they meet patient care standards.
  • We must all work together to establish and agree on the best practice care for people within our organization.
  • Ascertain current practice and care
  • Compare the differences, and identify the gaps and barriers, between current and best practice and care, and identify achievements
  • Develop a plan of what goals need to be met to achieve best practice and care that is, working out what needs to be done and how
  • Implement the plan (that is, change things, for example, activity, perspective, approach, culture, education and training, environment, etc) to meet the goals
  • Evaluate practice and care by assessing and measuring whether goals have been met
  • Establish improved practice and care across a team, or organization (s)
  • Establish priorities and further goals to continuously improve quality of practice and care, that is, go through the steps again

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