Looking for raw data for benchmarking?
Data are yours with the click of a mouse
You may be surprised, especially if you’re an Internet neophyte, at the wealth of free and small-fee benchmarking information available on-line. At the site of Calgary Regional Health Authority in Alberta, Canada, for example, are not only the facility’s vital statistics, but also the top 10 causes of mortality, the most prescribed drugs, the diseases with the longest hospital stays, and emergency department visits broken down by health groups. (Calgary’s site is at http://www.crha-health.ab.ca.)
The following list is a small sampling of benchmarking data sources and was compiled with an eye toward providing you with some jumping-off points. Most are free; some sites have subscription services or membership fees. In all cases, read and respect copyright information.
• http://www.uhc.edu University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) is a group of 70-plus university and teaching hospitals that jointly pursue quality and benchmarking programs. UHC’s on-line newsletter contains a summary of at least one of the group’s latest benchmarking efforts. The reports are data-heavy and contain source contact information. Membership is required to participate in the programs, but ideas and possible benchmarking partners are there.
• http://www.qiproject.org The Maryland Hospital Association in Luthersville, MD, is a members-only site for a consortium that does a lot of quality improvement and benchmarking work in clinical areas developing national indicators. Some of the results are posted on-line. You will find group data on hospital-acquired infections, inpatient mortality rates, and surgical-site infections.
• http://www.apqc.org The American Productivity and Quality Center is a subscriber group, but the site includes free articles on benchmarking, survey design, and training.
• http://www.ahcpr.gov The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research publishes massive amounts of research and abstracts on-line. You can sign up for automatic updates on its Medical Expenditure Surveys by e-mail.
• http://www.quality.nist.gov The National Institute for Standards and Technology site houses the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria, with short profiles of winners since 1988 and links to many other quality sites.
• http://www.benchnet.com The Benchmarking Exchange in Aptos, CA, bills itself as the largest and most comprehensive benchmarking and process improvement network in the world, with thousands of members in 41 countries. Half of Baldrige winners and Fortune 500 companies are members.
• http://www.chim.org The Center for Healthcare Information Management in Ann Arbor, MI, offers, for a fee, surveys and reports on information technology, industry information manager salaries, and trends. Two examples: Integrating Clinical Information Across the Continuum of Care and Nurse’s Executive Guide to Directing and Managing Nurse Information Systems.
• http://www.amso.com The American Medical Specialty Organization, a managed care company in Los Angeles, offers on-line discussion groups on cost cutting, ethics, and health care reform.
• http://www.caredata.com CareData is an independent company that conducts studies of HMOs and point-of-service plans. You can order reports on health plans from them for a fee.