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Evaluate benchmarking techniques used for effective communication and reviewing purposes

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft‘ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

The Department of Health defines benchmarking as “a systematic process in which current practice and care are compared to, and amended to attain, best practice and care” (Essence of Care, 2010). In effect, this means looking at the best performers across the organisation or industry to identify areas for improvement.

The Essence of Care document identifies 12 general topics for benchmarking. One of these topics is communication and this is comprised of 11 benchmarks. This document also provides ideas and tips for using benchmarks to achieve best practice in your own setting. An outline of this process is included below:

  1. Establish priorities for improving practice and care within the environment or organisation
  2. Establish and agree best (evidence-based) practice and care for people within the organisation
  3. Ascertain current practice and care
  4. Compare the differences, and identify the gaps and barriers, between current and best practice and care and identify achievements
  5. Develop a plan of what goals need to be met to achieve best practice and care that is, working out what needs to be done and how
  6. Implement the plan (that is, change things, for example, activity, perspective, approach, culture, education and training, environment etc) to meet the goals
  7. Evaluate practice and care by assessing and measuring whether goals have been met
  8. Establish improved practice and care across a team, or organisation(s)
  9. Establish priorities and further goals to continuously improve quality of practice and care, that is, go through the steps again

Several sources could be used to evaluate the current effectiveness of communication systems and processes within the organisation, including auditing processes, continuing professional development (CPD) processes and feedback from others.

Team members should be encouraged to make comparisons with other organisations and departments and understand why benchmarking is important. A good leader will make this possible by creating a workplace culture that promotes learning, openness and innovation.