Nursing-sensitive benchmarks for hospitals to gauge high-reliability performance

J Healthc Qual. Nov-Dec 2010;32(6):9-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1945-1474.2010.00083.x.


Benchmarking expedites the quest for best practices and is crucial to hospitals' effective, reliable, and superior performance. Comparative performance data are used by accrediting and regulatory bodies to evaluate performance and by consumers in making decisions on where to seek healthcare. Nursing-sensitive quality measures affirmed by the National Quality Forum are now used in public reporting and pay-for-performance in addition to traditional medical outcome metrics. This report provides hospital nursing-sensitive benchmarks from medical/surgical, critical care, and step-down units drawn from 196 hospitals during six quarters in 2007 and 2008. Outcome measures include pressure ulcer prevalence rates and fall/falls with injury rates. Additional indicators that describe nursing care (nurse staffing care hours, skill mix, nurse/patient ratios, workload intensity, voluntary turnover, and use of sitters) and patient descriptors (age, gender, and diagnosis description) were also included. Specific benchmarks are provided using the 10th and the 90th percentiles, as well as quartiles to allow hospitals an opportunity to understand comparative performance with specificity. The purpose of this article is to provide hospitals not currently participating in comparative benchmarking databases with nursing-sensitive data from the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes for use in performance improvement processes.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Safety