Benchmarking as a managerial technique has been around for several decades. It has become an essential component of the modern manager’s toolkit, used to ‘shine a light’ into areas where further, more detailed, analysis is likely to result in tangible improvement in performance and greater certainty of return on investment.

However, for benchmarking to be valuable, stakeholders must have confidence that comparative information presented has been validated for consistency and that the measures used for analysis have both meaning and utility in their local context. To be credible, data and information must be gathered and analysed consistently. Without a robust methodology applied to comparable data, conclusions drawn will be suspect at best or damaging at worst.

Pathology is well suited to benchmarking. The technologies used by different laboratories are broadly similar, as are the skill requirements to staff a laboratory to produce results and clinical interpretations. Data and information are normally available due to relatively sophisticated Laboratory Information Systems. And pathology professionals have tended to impose systems of control and accreditation that have led to similar organisational forms.

At a national level, the NHS is emphasising the need to form collaborative networks for diagnostics. We believe that proposals for change often benefit from benchmarking analyses to describe to all ‘the art of the possible’. We have several decades of experience of conducting these types of studies. In fact, one of our partners is so old that they remember participating in the Xerox competitive benchmarking programme in the mid-1980’s!

Please do let us know if you think your plans might benefit from an informal conversation about how benchmarking and its associated analysis techniques could help underpin your plans for organisational transformation.