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benchmarking, obstetrics benchmarking, patient-physician relations, patient satisfaction, program benchmarking, patient relations benchmarking



  1. Smith, Howard L. PhD
  2. Piland, Neill F. DrPH
  3. Burchell, Clay R. MD


Ambulatory care providers are being challenged to deliver high-quality care at low cost with easy access. Patient satisfaction with services hinges on the ability of providers to meet these often elusive benchmarks. This article focuses on the barriers to benchmarking patient relations in ambulatory care organizations and strategies for improving patient relations through internal benchmarking that encourages service innovation and performance emphasis. A case study of programmatic benchmarking in the Lovelace Health System is used to illustrate how patient relations can benefit from establishing internal performance thresholds that guide service delivery. Examples from Lovelace's High Risk Pregnancy Program demonstrate the value of benchmarking efforts. The implications for patient relations benchmarking in other ambulatory care settings are discussed.