All healthcare providers rely on effective medical record processing to ensure outcomes, manage costs, and comply with regulations. Unfortunately, the volume of the data, and the systematic nature of processing, mean that inefficiencies, mistakes, and redundancies are common. Even worse, the scope of the problem can be completely unknown – and therefore impossible to address – unless it is studied closely.
That is why so many providers are turning to benchmarking to improve the way they process medical records. In one notable example, Sentra Healthcare, a Virginia healthcare system, was able to reduce its processing costs by $1.9 million by utilizing benchmarking strategies. This quick guide will show you why benchmarking works and how you can use it to your advantage.
Creates a Competitive Mindset
Benchmarking basically involves comparing the practices and performance of one provider to those of another. By looking at the medical records processing budgets of competing providers and comparing them to your own, you can help to understand your position in an increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace. Having this information is crucial for long-term strategic planning.
Identifies the Good and Bad
In the race to control healthcare costs, administrative costs often get overlooked, in spite of their effect on overall expenditures. The process of benchmarking forces you to take an unbiased look at the amount you spend on medical records processing, how that compares to other internal costs, and whether your processing efforts are running efficiently or inefficiently by the standards of your competition. Taking this kind of honest look at the way your business is run can help you determine exactly what is working, what is not, and why.
Benchmarking Best Practices
- Use Standardized Data – The only way to make a direct comparison is to use a standardized unit of data. The accepted standard for medical records processing is to measure overall cost per adjusted admission.
- Select a Peer Group – Compare yourself to providers that have a similar size, complexity, and scope to best understand who your competition is.
- Be Transparent – As you collect performance data, make it available to relevant employees as a way to promote improvement.
- Find a Leader – Identify someone with the motivational and leadership skills to guide your medical records department through cost-containment and quality-improvement initiatives. Don’t expect change to come from the bottom up.
In practice, benchmarking can be a complicated and confusing process. But its benefits are undeniable, and its necessity is more urgent than ever. To help you find experts that can effectively carry out your benchmarking efforts, rely on the experienced recruiters at MedPartners HIM.