Advanced Revenue Cycle Concepts: Benchmarking Part I

Which revenue cycle benchmarks do you measure against?Which benchmarks do you measure your hospital’s performance against?

If you don’t have a phenomenal answer, don’t worry—in our experience, “benchmarking” is one of those terms you hear often and understand in context, but many hospital leaders don’t have access or don’t utilize benchmarks to drive hospital performance.

Jim Garvin, Vice President of Solution Development for Dell Services Revenue Cycle Solutions, addresses these issues in a presentation called “The Road to Performance: Evaluating Metrics and Benchmark Trends in the Revenue Cycle.” Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take the cornerstones of this presentation and break them out into easy-to-digest blog posts that you can start implementing immediately.

Definition and Benefits

Benchmarking seeks to identify, understand, and adapt best practices and processes to improve organizational performance and can usually be classified into one of four categories: productivity, quality, time, and financial. 

For hospitals, benchmarking can help reduce expenses and improve product and service quality. It also provides standardized data for continuous measurement and comparison against aggregated industry performance. Additionally, when hospital departments are individually benchmarked, it can add millions to your facility’s bottom line.


There are several organizations that provide quantitative benchmarks for hospitals.

  1. HFMA (Hospital Financial Management Association) offers the MAP, which empowers hospital financial leaders to measure performance, apply evidence-based strategies for improvement, and perform to the highest standards. MAP is a comprehensive strategy that establishes definitive indicators of revenue cycle performance, called MAP keys. HFMA offers a web-based tool—the MAP App—to track performance throughout the revenue cycle and recommend strategies for improvement. HFMA has also built a community around MAP: every year, HFMA honors excellence with the MAP Award, and MAP participants can share lessons at the annual MAP conference.
  2. AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) is the premier organization for health information management (HIM) professionals. It releases surveys and best practices in its journal, publishes Communities of Practice to help hospitals identify other organizations with which to benchmark, and hosts national conventions and seminars that offer educational programs and showcase best practices.
  3. HARA is a quarterly journal that publishes reports and performance indicators for hospital financial professionals based on data submitted from U.S. hospitals. HARA data helps hospital leaders compare financial performance with other hospitals by bed size, geographic location, and revenue, identify areas for performance improvement, forecast trends, and establish goals. Included in the publication are numerous indicators such as Gross Days Revenue Outstanding, Uncollectibles as a Percentage of Revenue, Days from Discharge-to-Bill, and Percentage of Discharged A/R over 90 Days.

We’ve excerpted a few slides that you can review in this blog post to demonstrate some of the national benchmarks mentioned above.

In Part II, I’ll discuss how hospitals can use benchmarking to affect real change in their organizations, along with the philosophy and framework for maximizing results.

“The Road to Performance: Evaluating Metrics and Benchmark Trends in the Revenue Cycle” is an active program in our educational portfolio. If you think a more detailed explanation would benefit your organization, contact your local HFMA chapter president to express your interest in booking us to speak or lead a webinar. Additionally, you can Contact Me, and I’ll let you know when we’re next scheduled to lead a webinar.

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  1. 15 States Oppose Medicaid Expansion—Is Yours One of Them? « TheRevCyclist
  2. Advanced Revenue Cycle Concepts: Benchmarking Part II « TheRevCyclist
  3. How Does Your Hospital Rate? Depends on the Tool. « TheRevCyclist

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