What is benchmarking?
Benchmarking is the process of identifying, sharing, understanding, using and adapting outstanding practices and knowledge. It is a continuous and systematic process in which working methods, achievements and processes are compared with those of prominent organisations. Benchmarking focuses on how to improve any business process by exploiting top-notch approaches rather than merely measuring best performances. It involves looking outward, outside your hospital, to examine how others achieve their performance levels and to understand the process they use.
Benchmarking was originally developed in an industrial environment. Recently, other organisations such as hospitals have discovered the value of benchmarking and are applying it to improve their performance. Benchmarking readily integrates with strategic initiatives such as total quality management (TQM), continuous improvement, change management and re-engineering. As with TQM, benchmarking underlines the responsibility and influence of the individual employee. It stems from a personal and organisational willingness to learn.
The benefits of benchmarking are considerable. Benchmarking breaks paradigms and provides models of excellence. Benchmarking can achieve breakthroughs and innovations. Employees learn to look "outside the box" and make better-informed decisions.