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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 7, 517 - 525

Essay

Benchmarking and other functions of ROM: back to basics

M. Barendregt

background Since 2011 outcome data in the Dutch mental health care have been collected on a national scale. This has led to confusion about the position of benchmarking in the system known as routine outcome monitoring (rom).
aim To provide insight into the various objectives and uses of aggregated outcome data.
method A qualitative review was performed and the findings were analysed.
results Benchmarking is a strategy for finding best practices and for improving efficacy and it belongs to the domain of quality management. Benchmarking involves comparing outcome data by means of instrumentation and is relatively tolerant with regard to the validity of the data. Although benchmarking is a function of rom, it must be differentiated form other functions from rom. Clinical management, public accountability, research, payment for performance and information for patients are all functions of rom which require different ways of data feedback and which make different demands on the validity of the underlying data.
conclusion Benchmarking is often wrongly regarded as being simply a synonym for ‘comparing institutions’. It is, however, a method which includes many more factors; it can be used to improve quality and has a more flexible approach to the validity of outcome data and is less concerned than other rom functions about funding and the amount of information given to patients. Benchmarking can make good use of currently available outcome data.

keywords benchmarking, quality improvement, routine outcome monitoring (ROM)