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: