6 Reasons For Benchmarking Behavioral Health Outcomes
We like to reinforce the need to benchmark behavioral health outcomes with a statement that is simultaneously simple and profound: You cannot manage what you do not measure. Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Yet benchmarking outcomes isn’t something every behavioral healthcare provider does.
Benchmarking gives you a baseline. It gives you something to compare your current outcomes to; something that helps you measure whether you are getting it right. It makes no sense in any realm of healthcare not to benchmark. It is particularly baffling to not do it in behavioral health.
If your organization doesn’t benchmark behavioral health outcomes, here are six reasons to change that:
1. Evaluating Your Performance
The behavioral health industry is driven by certain standards and best practices. Benchmarking allows organizations to compare themselves against said standards and best practices. In essence, benchmarking is a tool of self-evaluation. It identifies both weaknesses and strengths. It provides the opportunity to compare your organization to peers and competitors.
2. Improving Quality of Care
One of our primary goals as behavioral health consultants is to help our clients improve their quality of care. We assume you share that goal. You want to provide the best possible care you can. Benchmarking helps you do so.
Benchmarking against key performance indicators is the starting point for identifying gaps in your care plans, then devising and implementing strategies to close those gaps. It also provides a baseline for setting realistic goals, tracking facility progress toward those goals, and measuring the outcomes realized by achieving them.
3. Allocating Resources
Resources are scarce throughout healthcare. Behavioral health is no exception. Benchmarking applies inasmuch as it reveals how the facility is utilizing its resources – both effectively and ineffectively. It provides a roadmap for better resource allocation across the board.
4. Best Practices Identification
We talk about best practices all the time in healthcare. Here is the thing: they are not static. Best practices evolve with technology, clinical innovation, new knowledge, etc. As such, benchmarking provides an avenue for identifying and developing new best practices.
Innovation in healthcare is built on this very principle. As things change and evolve over time, best practices need to be modified accordingly. Benchmarking reveals the best ways to do that.
5. Improved Decision Making
Effective behavioral health management requires constant decision making. We make important decisions on our end; you do the same on yours. How are those decisions reached? By taking in all the appropriate information and acting on it accordingly. Benchmarking plays a critical role here.
Whether your organization is looking to expand services, modify current treatment modalities, or implement new evidence-based practices, benchmarking offers the objective information decision makers need to move forward. It provides the opportunity to compare multiple data sets for the purpose of making the best and most informed decision possible.
6. Improved Reporting and Accountability
Finally, benchmarking provides a baseline for both reporting and accountability. It improves reporting by producing better information and subsequent analysis. It improves accountability by creating historical data sets that can be continuously analyzed and compared against current outcomes.
Improved reporting and accountability should lead to better results for both patients and providers. In the end, this is what it’s all about. If we are not working to improve behavioral health, we are doing a disservice to everyone involved.
Is your organization routinely benchmarking behavioral health outcomes? If not, it is probably safe to say that there is plenty of room for improvement in what you do. Don’t look at a lack of benchmarking as a negative. Embrace it as positive motivation to launch a new benchmarking initiative.
Let’s Get to Work, Together
Contact us to learn more about how Horizon Health can help you start a behavioral health program or take an existing program to new heights.