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    Adrianna Smell
    Adrianna Smell

    Benchmarking is vital to healthcare organizations as it identifies operational issues, presents solutions to these issues, and highlights successful procedures within practices. Ultimately, healthcare benchmarking aims to improve efficiency, quality of care, outcomes and the patient experience. 

    Benchmarking became a defining feature of healthcare in the 1990s, although the earliest outcomes comparisons (i.e., mortality in hospitals) date back to the 17th century. Today, it continues to measure and compare clinical outcomes across organizations, as well as foster peer support and the use of best practices.1   

    MGMA polls from 2019 showed that most healthcare leaders have used benchmarking data to improve their operations (84%)2 and address business issues (82%)3 in areas such as productivity, financials, human resources and patient access.  

    Although healthcare leaders are using benchmarking to improve their operations, it might come as a surprise that they aren’t doing so more often. A Dec. 12, 2023, MGMA Stat poll found that most medical group leaders (41%) benchmark their organization’s data versus external data annually, compared to nearly one in four (24%) who are benchmarking at least monthly and another 15% benchmarking quarterly. Another 15% noted they never benchmark versus external sources, and 4% responded “other” — most of whom noted they benchmark every two to three years. The poll had 332 applicable responses. 

    Why benchmark? 

    Benchmarking is crucial in helping healthcare leaders make optimal strategic choices, reducing risk in decision-making and justifying their actions or inactions. In other words, “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you don’t value it, you won’t change it.”4   

    Benchmarking facilitates organizational growth and development by improving operations, boosting efficiency, and reducing operating costs. It also enables leaders to compare with competitors across multiple metrics, identify and adopt effective practices from high-performing organizations and eliminate unnecessary costs by streamlining positions, activities, policies and procedures that were previously ineffective.  

    Top-performing medical groups (such as those identified in the MGMA DataDive Better Performers data set) reach their goals because they “transform data into action”5 and implement best practices based on key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarking against other medical groups. Better Performers review their benchmarking data regularly — every month, according to a 2022 interview with Martin Shehan.6 Consistent, continual benchmarking can help organizations see the forest through the trees — showing change and consistency over time within individual practices, larger medical groups and entire specialties.   

    MGMA’s commitment to benchmarking 

    Providing expertly complied benchmarking data and statistics has been a defining feature of MGMA since its founding in 1926. MGMA has been at the forefront of helping medical groups make informed decisions through insights and benchmarks from industry-leading data analysis, reports, surveys, and more. 

    MGMA’s annual surveys 

    For the past 97 years, MGMA has been leading the charge in providing medical practices with the data needed to identify, set and reach their organizational goals in areas such as productivity, financials, human resources and patient access. 

    Medical groups can contribute to industry-standard benchmarks by participating in MGMA’s annual DataDive surveys (learn more here). The annual surveys open to all medical group practices on Jan. 1, 2024. Organizations that participate will receive complimentary access to the datasets they contribute and can upgrade their access to include more robust analysis tools (see the benefits guide for more information).  

    MGMA Data Suite 

    • MGMA DataDive is healthcare's most reliable benchmarking resource, which has been helping professionals and organizations, both large and small, determine how they fare in the marketplace. Organizations can pinpoint successes and opportunities by comparing their performance with others across multiple datasets.  
    • MGMA DataDive Spotlight offers organizations a visually engaging resource for benchmark analysis. This tool uses a variety of benchmarks and filters offered in MGMA DataDive to highlight chosen KPIs in a personalized, dynamic dashboard.  
    • MGMA DataDiscovery is an advanced, cloud-based analytics tool enabling organizations to generate detailed, practice-level analysis and actional insights from their internal financial, operational, and telehealth data.  

    Additional MGMA Benchmarking Resources:  


    1. Ettorchi-Tardy A, Levif M, Michel P. (2012). “Benchmarking: a method for continuous quality improvement in health.” Healthcare policy = Politiques de sante, 7(4), e101–e119. 
    2. Gray, S. "The power of benchmarking data for healthcare leaders." MGMA. March 20, 2019. Available from:
    3. MGMA Staff Members. "Benchmarking for Success." MGMA. Oct. 10, 2019. Available from:  
    4. "Benchmarking for Success: Case Studies in Transforming Data into Action." MGMA. Sept. 2019. Available from:   
    5. MGMA Staff Members. "Foundational benchmarks and KPIs for medical practice operations in 2023." MGMA. Feb. 14, 2023. Available from:  
    6. Williams D. "Becoming a better performer with Martin Shehan." MGMA. Dec. 13, 2022. Available from:  


    Adrianna Smell

    Written By

    Adrianna Smell

    Adrianna Smell is a Data Project Analyst for MGMA.

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