The benchmarking process has been used extensively to evaluate and Improve performance in business and industry. There is currently increasing interest in utilizing this process in the health care field to maximize efficiency and improve patient outcomes. The article defines benchmarking in health care and lists characteristics of the benchmarking process. The process of conducting a clinical benchmarking project aimed at improving outcomes for patients with congestive heart failure is described and determined to be an effective means of reducing costs and improving both patient outcomes and quality of care.
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