Reinventing Benchmarking for the Value Era

Andrew D. Smith
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Robert “Bo” Gamble
Robert “Bo” Gamble
As more and more emphasis is placed on value of care versus volume of care, oncology practices are increasingly looking for ways to compare their performance with that of their competitors. Benchmarking, as this is called, has historically been difficult in oncology because of barriers to the flow of information and the complexities of care. However, such performance comparisons are now becoming a part of payment models, and practices realize they need comparative data to understand how well they perform relative to their competitors and whether there is room for improvement.

Strictly defined, benchmarks are standardized measures of performance that businesses have long used to compare themselves with competitors, as well as to compare current and past performance. They have found their place in medicine—“best hospital” lists all compare institutional performance on standard metrics—but benchmarking remains rare among independent oncologists. Gamble estimates that no more than 10% of COA’s members have engaged in any benchmarking beyond in-house analyses of a current year’s performance in comparison with performances in years past.

Figure. Anonymized Benchmarks for an Individual Practice

COA has launched a program called COAnalyzer to help practices that already use benchmarks and entice others to give them a try. Any practice that gives anonymized information about its own performance on a variety of metrics will be able to see how its numbers fit into the range of figures supplied by other participating practices.
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