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See How You Measure Up with AARC Benchmarking

 Published: January 30, 2019

By: Heather Willden


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AARC Benchmarking defines comparison groups to assess how you stack up against similar hospitals, as well as give you access to performance metrics.

AARC Benchmarking

“AARC Benchmarking is not just an assessment of opportunities to reduce cost, but also about assessing what others may be doing better than you and how you can benefit from others,” said Chuck Menders, RRT, RRT-ACC, AE-C, FAARC, as he shares his experience working with the tool.

“All too often, hospital administration used bad data and failed to consider value in making decisions related to staffing and the structure of respiratory care departments,” said Rick Ford, RRT, FAARC, who continued to share that the goal of the AARC Benchmarking tool is to serve as a viable data-driven tool that leads to better decision making.

What is AARC Benchmarking?

Menders explains that AARC Benchmarking captures procedures associated with CPT Codes that are common to all respiratory departments.

“These procedures represent a majority of the work performed in most RT departments, and mirror the data and descriptions contained in the AARC Uniform Reporting Manual,” Menders said.

The tool also captures outcome metrics.

“This data can then be used to compare how your hospital stacks up to user-selected compare groups,” Menders said.

For Ford, “AARC Benchmarking is a resource for respiratory care leadership to identify opportunities for improvement.”

Using the tool, you can compare key metrics that use labor hours, units of service produced, selected outcomes, as well as operational information related to department structure and functions.

“All too often hospital-wide corporate benchmarking firms fail to account for the unique differences in department operations, the provision of expanded scopes, service acuity and the differences in charge capture systems,” Ford said. Recognizing the challenges of benchmarking Respiratory Services, the AARC launched this new version in early 2017. Managers across the country now have a tool that provides a means to quickly identify best performers and pursue improvement.”

Who is the tool designed for?

“The system is designed so that all information is transparent to all subscribers,” Menders said.

AARC Benchmarking allows you to create a variety of “compare facilities” groups. From there, Benchmarking users can look at data of select “compare facilities” to better evaluate how they compare.

“And not just the numbers, but also their facility profile,” Menders said. “Maybe your facility does external transports, or you have twice as many ICU beds, or PFTs or Pulmonary Rehab are not part of the respiratory cost center, or you have various coordinators/instructors in place – all these and much more can be determined by looking at your compare groups’ data.”

Value to members

“Value is achieved when data is able to drive improvements in outcomes, and AARC Benchmarking can do just that,” Ford said.

Ford explains that the AARC Benchmarking tool offers the following benefits:

  • Hospital profile and metric data are transparent to users.
  • You have direct access to view data and reports from any participating hospital, as well as create compare groups using Profile Filters to find what you’re looking for.
  • The program was developed by and is serviced directly through the AARC, so new features and improvements can be made as recommended by user clients.
  • Users also have direct access to a member of the AARC Benchmarking Committee to get issues resolved quickly.
  • Users are auto-enrolled in the AARConnect Benchmarking Client Group where they can ask questions, dive deeper into issues, and better identify reasons for variation in metrics/outcomes.
  • AARC Benchmarking makes the transition to comparing outcomes so we can continue to identify and compare the true value of top performers.

Other uses for the tool

In addition to seeing how you compare to other facilities, the AARC Benchmarking tool helps you learn how a certain process or workflow is captured in their electronic medical record (EMR). Or you can use the tool to see who uses a particular protocol.

“And the really great thing is that once you find out this information, the facility’s contact information is right there for you to give them a call,” Menders said.

Menders has also found that “most places are more than happy to share their successes and processes with others in the Benchmarking Subscriber Group.”

Putting the tool to work

Menders puts the Benchmarking tool to good use when it comes to challenging consultants.

“When consultant groups or independent agencies benchmark your department, they usually provide performance metrics without identifying or providing direct access to what the better performers are doing, how they are doing it, or if they truly are a valid like-compare facility,” Menders said. “AARC Benchmarking overcomes these concerns, and actually provides information and data to help challenge the consultants.”

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Communications Manager for the AARC where she develops strategic content for the association and respiratory therapists everywhere. Connect with her about public relations and stories on Twitter or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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