With lean initiatives, you are constantly striving to achieve perfection. But at the same time, you may want to benchmark your company’s performance against others in your industry to see how you are doing, and as a first step in figuring out why other companies are doing better than yours.
Certainly a customer may be interested in knowing who the best suppliers are.
In healthcare, interest in benchmarking has created a market opportunity being seized by a young company called Health Grades.
There are numerous companies whose websites offer ratings of doctors and hospitals, but those are often based on the opinions of other doctors or patients.
At least 31 states now release health outcome data for hospitals on the Internet; much of it is focused on surgical procedures such as coronary bypass. Medicare has its own hospital comparison site, which counts how often hospitals follow certain safety procedures.
Much of this data is scattered across the Web and of variable quality. Health Grades is among the first to make rating hospitals into a business, gathering data for every hospital and putting it all together in one easy-to-use site. It makes money by selling detailed reports (the basic ones are free), licensing its name to hospitals that do well and offering consulting services to ones that do poorly…
Today Health Grades' methodology is an industry standard, and top hospitals pay for its advice. Three years ago David Pate, who runs the parent hospital of the renowned Texas Heart Institute, was alarmed to see that the
I see this as a positive development, as it can help to raise awareness of what can be achieved. The danger is that some hospitals will see the highest current levels of performance as the best that can be achieved, and not embrace a true lean mind-set of continuous improvement.