There are many software programs used in the healthcare industry, one of them is the Touchstone software. Many people try to understand the Touchstone Definition and rightfully so because it will help them use it better to better their operation. The Touchstone software is used for benchmarking and it is one of the leading software programs in the field. In order to understand the importance of the touchstone software, it is important to first understand what benchmarking is.
Benchmarking can be defined is the process of establishing a standard of excellence in an organization and then comparing the functions, activities, department, and teams of that company to that standard. In recent times, benchmarking has been used increasingly in healthcare organizations is a way to reduce cost and expenses and increase productivity and quality of care and service. Benchmarking is also a process used to measure an organization’s’ own process against other organizations in a similar line of business or similar industry. This comparison is not done with just any organization in the industry but instead with industry leaders. One can say with certainty that benchmarking is part of quality management,
There are four major types of benchmarking:
- Internal Benchmarking
- Competing Benchmarking
- Utilitarian Benchmarking
- Universal Benchmarking
Internal benchmarking is the process where a company benchmarks between its own departments, divisions, offices, products, and services. Basically with internal benchmarking, functions within an organization are compared with each other. Internal benchmarking is important in an organization because it helps them learn from within. Internal benchmarking is important in the healthcare industry because it means they can learn from locations and examine a particular set of measures across these locations. Many healthcare organizations have different locations that are run by different teams.
Of course, these different locations would have come up with their unique ways of doing things in different departments, Internal benchmarking, means that they can come together and knowledge share and end up being better at not just what they have mastered. There is also software available that helps healthcare organizations carry out internal benchmarking specifically.
Competing benchmarking is when companies in the same market or industry benchmark with each other. They do a direct comparison of their products and services. Healthcare organizations measure their metrics with other healthcare organizations in the same geographic locations. This ensures that they stay competitive with those in their market.
Competing benchmarking also means looking at what companies similar to yours are doing in different markets. Benchmarking information about your competitors is sometime easier to find – you just have to know where to look. When competitors come together to benchmark and learn from each other, they end up improving and providing all round better services and products to the customers. This is especially beneficial in the healthcare industry.
Utilitarian benchmarking is the process of comparing metrics with organizations and companies in different industries that have similar metrics or processes is your organization. Functional benchmarking is especially great for improving operations. Some things that can be benchmarked with utilitarian benchmarking are payroll, system availability, accounting methods, or IT departments. With utilitarian benchmarking companies can shra vital information that could help them significantly improve their operations which leads to more benefits such is cost reduction and improved quality of deliverables.
Universal benchmarking is the name implies, as the most abstract and generic form of benchmarking there is but it still has its importance. In generic benchmarking, companies look beyond data sets and focuses on more general processes. The idea behind universal benchmarking is to introduce a new way of thinking into an organization. So for example, a healthcare organization could compare its company culture with other organizations that seem to be doing better and copy some of their culture to help improve moral.
A company can also look at how a company (regardless of industry) haldes its social responsibility and copy it so they become more socially responsible and in the same vein have more goodwill for their company name. In the healthcare industry space for example, For example, a hospital might compare their admission process rates to the check-in process at a hotel chain. As a researcher said about this example:
“Examining these two processes side by side may seem incomprehensible, but when you boil it down, both focus on getting someone from one point to another. If you’re looking to make significant improvements in your admission process, or are interested in any other metric that can be broken down in a more generic way, looking across a variety of companies or industries is helpful.”
DATA FOR BENCHMARKING PURPOSES
Is already mentioned above, data for benchmarking can be easy to find but you have to know where to look. And when you get that data, you have to know how to interpret and quantify it. Benchmarking requires a quantitative measurement of the subject. The type of data you go after depends on the type of benchmarking you want to do. It will also determine the measurements and metrics used. Benchmarking metrics usually can be classified in one of four categories:
In the healthcare industry, there are lots of places that benchmarking data can be sourced. Some ideas to look at are, local quality collaboratives, community clinic associations, multi-organization associations and QI projects etc. These organizations often gather and collect data that can be used for benchmarking purposes. Other sources of data for benchmarking are governmental organizations, NGOs, data collecting agencies, or quality monitoring agencies etc.