With CostFlex, there is little or no cost involved to be participating in a benchmarking project. The CostFlex ABC software is all that is needed to initiate or participate in benchmarking projects with other CostFlex users.
A “sequence” of the 4 steps involved in a benchmarking project of a group of CostFlex clients is used to describe this process.
- Each participant, using a list of previously agreed upon patient selection criteria, will direct the CostFlex software to create an external data base.
- Each participant will then direct the software to “mask” the participant’s identity and encrypt the real patient and physician names and numbers on the external data base.
- A copy of the external database is then emailed or sent by FTP to one of the participants who will consolidate all participating databases.
- A copy of the consolidated database is emailed or sent by FTP back to the participants who will use CostFlex standard reports to analyze the data.
CostFlex standard reports from the consolidated database will show “best practices”, activity volumes, costs, reimbursements, and profits realized by each clinical code, etc.
Looking at a comparative list of an orthopedic procedure, for example, each participant will know their own masked hospital ID code. If their average cost is twice the cost of the lowest cost participant, they would need to meet with the other participants to find out the who and why.
In summary, the CostFlex benchmarking feature is not designed to provide an answer, but to identify realistic feasibilities and set a starting point to lead to continuous improvement of processes.