Many hospitals invest in national benchmarking to engage physicians in performance improvement, and minimize unwanted or unnecessary deviations in physician practice. However, while the concept of comparing key metrics with similar organizations can be part of the solution, there are some potential problems with this approach that, for some hospitals, is triggering ongoing frustrations instead of driving continuous gains.
Specifically, there are four core challenges with national benchmarking that can limit its application, value and impact: high cost, lack of physician buy-in, failure to apply knowledge, and inability to micro-target KPIs.
National benchmarking offers proven value, and the observations above do not suggest that this method of measuring performance and setting goals should be off the table. However, to unleash the power of benchmarking and close these gaps, hospitals need to “think nationally but focus locally.”
That is, hospitals can (if affordable) use national benchmarks at a strategic level to determine targets, areas for improvement and strategic initiatives. But they should go deeper by leveraging customized scorecards that:
Rather than being data-rich but results-poor, hospitals access organization and physician-specific business intelligence support to save time and money — especially if they no longer need to buy a costly single-purpose national benchmarking service — and ensure that the knowledge and best practices they glean integrate with their QI program.
Using customized internal scorecards combined is a smart, safe, affordable and proven way for hospitals to augment or replace national benchmarking (if it is not an affordable or desired option), and achieve continuous, measurable and substantial physician performance improvement. After all, as Mark Twain sagely advised: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
At Polaris, we create customized internal scorecards that provide decision-makers with clear, actionable business intelligence that supports performance improvement at individual physician, team and organizational levels. Simply put, we enable hospitals to think nationally, but focus locally.
To learn more about our solutions, technologies and approach, contact the Polaris team today.