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Healthc Policy. 2012 May;7(4):e101-19.

Benchmarking: a method for continuous quality improvement in health.

Author information

1
Public Health Physician, Comité de coordination de l'évaluation clinique et de la qualité en Aquitaine (CCECQA), Hôpital Xavier Arnozan (CHU de Bordeaux), Bordeaux, France.

Abstract

in English, French

Benchmarking, a management approach for implementing best practices at best cost, is a recent concept in the healthcare system. The objectives of this paper are to better understand the concept and its evolution in the healthcare sector, to propose an operational definition, and to describe some French and international experiences of benchmarking in the healthcare sector. To this end, we reviewed the literature on this approach's emergence in the industrial sector, its evolution, its fields of application and examples of how it has been used in the healthcare sector. Benchmarking is often thought to consist simply of comparing indicators and is not perceived in its entirety, that is, as a tool based on voluntary and active collaboration among several organizations to create a spirit of competition and to apply best practices. The key feature of benchmarking is its integration within a comprehensive and participatory policy of continuous quality improvement (CQI). Conditions for successful benchmarking focus essentially on careful preparation of the process, monitoring of the relevant indicators, staff involvement and inter-organizational visits. Compared to methods previously implemented in France (CQI and collaborative projects), benchmarking has specific features that set it apart as a healthcare innovation. This is especially true for healthcare or medical-social organizations, as the principle of inter-organizational visiting is not part of their culture. Thus, this approach will need to be assessed for feasibility and acceptability before it is more widely promoted.

PMID:
23634166
PMCID:
PMC3359088
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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