Dental care benchmarking
Dental care benchmarking has been implemented since 2009 as a continuous service. It involves municipalities of various sizes, which may differ in organisational and management structures, but where most of the efficiency-influencing factors are the same. Dental care benchmarking is used to analyse the productivity, effectiveness and quality of the services. The current economic situation has put a great strain on the extent of municipal dental care services, but with long-term development and emphasis on the most effective core operations, the needs of the population can be met despite the challenging circumstances.
Benchmarking seeks solutions to improve participants’ technical and the allocative sense of the word. The impact of resourcing and the different concepts on the cost, effectiveness and quality of the treatment is studied with episode-based comparisons conducted in primary healthcare, emergency services, orthodontics and root treatment. The results are then used to study, for example, factors behind the cross-unit differences in productivity, and whether the detected regional differences in dental care can be explained by the different approaches in the nursing units.
In dental care, the traditional annual statistics comparison can easily lead astray, because here, the course of treatment often consists of a series of visits over a number of months. The episode-based comparison draws from almost ten-year organisation-based longitudinal data. The employed cost estimation model is based on appointments made with specific occupational groups and corresponds to actual dental care costs with relatively high accuracy. By combining the exact cost data and the episode studies, the cost-effectiveness of the different approaches can be compared.
Primary care hospital benchmarking
The primary care hospital benchmarking was launched in 2011 in several municipalities and federations of municipalities.
Here, the prevailing regional service structure, particularly that involving the elderly, needs to be taken into account. In the benchmarking, service structures for the aged, and the related implemented and unimplemented changes, are examined as a separate entity. Comparative information has been used to realise service structure reforms. In addition, the participants have shared good practices for the implementation of the reforms.
Looking at the health centre hospitals themselves, operations are divided into short-term care, rehabilitation and long-term care review entities. Comparison data include the use of services by age group, patient flows, treatment period duration, resourcing, nurse productivity and utilisation rate. The results have been used for detecting differences in service allocation, productivity, treatment practices and service structures, and for identifying related challenges and problems.
Health centre benchmarking
Benchmarking for the health centres was launched in 2009, and has since then expanded to include several centres in Finland. The challenges faced by health centres include the fragmentation of the operations, the use of management-related indicators, and the lack of comparison data regarding operational figures, best practices and processes.
The comparison uses regular data on patient visits, time stamps, diagnoses, and the resources used. Suitable indicators for examining the data are continuously developed by taking into account the customers’ wishes. For example, the coverage of the visits (number of visits relative to population) and the resulting resource burden are telling markers of the health centre’s activities. Increased productivity has led to, for example, greater availability and better use of resources.
Comparison data helps us understand how the differently organised reception activities affect the smoothness of the process. The results are used in various aspects including resourcing and concept development. Results such as patient group segmentation, resource productivity and visit distribution types are interpreted in a joint reporting meeting, where the performance of the healthcare centre’s reception activities is also subjected to a comprehensive analysis. In addition to the comparison data, experiences and opinions of the participants concerning the different concepts and practices are highly valued, and discussion during the meeting is encouraged.