Tag Archives: Benchmarking

Overcoming Denial About Laboratory Benchmarking: Room for Improvement

I’ll always remember my first consulting project. A senior VP of a community hospital in the mid-Atlantic region asked us to validate a report by the state hospital association that his lab was overstaffed by 33 percent. During my first visit, I knew the report was at least directionally correct without having looked at any data. The lab was not busy. Techs were mulling around. There were the surreptitious glances from the staff and the occasional magazine on the bench. Lab management insisted that they were appropriately staffed.

You know this story does not end well; we confirmed the hospital association report despite fervent claims to the contrary. What was surprising to me was that these folks were not being disingenuous. They truly believed that they were busy, that they were working hard! How could there be such a gap in perception? Continue reading

What Benchmarking Is…and Is Not

Benchmarking is a valuable tool for internal comparison within systems, internal comparison within one lab over time, or external comparison to other labs of similar size and complexity. It is not a precision tool—it provides directional guidance, but it is not an absolute.

After all, there are dozens of factors that come into play: the comparison criteria, the composition of the peer group, the services you offer, the extent of automation, whether phlebotomy is performed by the lab or nursing, whether you have an outreach program, the size of your business. The list can go on for pages because labs are complex. They are anything but homogeneous. Continue reading