The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1996 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Benchmarking on Your Own and/or with Proprietary Firms

Dan J. Grady, MEd, RRT Tuesday, November 5, 1996

Benchmarking is a process widely used in business and industry for the purpose of discovering and implementing best practices. The benchmarking process is data- driven and is useful for continuous quality improvement. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the use of benchmarking for the implementation of a Respiratory Care Consult service utilizing therapist-driven protocols.

A collaborative benchmarking group was formed among five non-competing hospitals of similar size and services. Approximately 21 benchmarking teams were formed; one of which was the Respiratory Care team. The teams were given support and direction of senior management within the respective hospitals and a full-time management consultant facilitated and coordinated meetings.

The Respiratory Care benchmarking team consisted of five Respiratory Care managers. A comprehensive survey of key departmental processes was initially completed for purposes of generating comparative data. The number of high-volume bronchial hygiene procedures was analyzed to determine best performers and those departments having protocols in place. This comparative data was useful for presentation to the medical staff via a hospital Utilization Review Committee and catalyzed the implementation of a Respiratory Care Consult service. The implementation of the Consult service resulted in greatly improved appropriateness of care, annual cost-savings of $37,754 per year and reductions in patient/payor charges of $501,000 per year.

The Respiratory Care team collectively compared appropriateness of care based upon AARC Clinical Practice Guidelines. Collectively, the team identified potential annual cost-savings of $ 49,514 per year and potential reductions in patient/payor charges of $ 614,289 per year through implementation of additional protocols.

In summary, team benchmarking may be a useful management tool for the implementation of a Respiratory Care Consult service or therapist-driven protocols.

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