ASCA is the national membership association that represents ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and provides advocacy and resources to assist ASCs in delivering high quality, cost-effective ambulatory surgery to all the patients they serve. For many years, ASCA conducted a benefits and salary study as a benefit to its members, though, prior to engaging Dynamic Benchmarking, it had been some time since one had been completed.
The ASCA management team knew that it needed to find a more efficient way of administering this study. The study has long been a highly valued member benefit for which the association receives numerous requests. Pleased with a recent experience administering its clinical and operational survey using an online platform, ASCA decided to investigate doing the same for the benefits and salary study. Upon seeing the Dynamic Benchmarking solution it became clear a good fit had been found.
“Historically, we have mailed or faxed the survey to our members and compiled the results manually,” says ASCA Chief Financial Officer, John Greenwich. “Dynamic Benchmarking has a lot of experience in conducting salary and benefits studies and everything we’d seen of its online platform seemed to make sense for us.”
“We started with our legacy salary survey as a starting point for developing questions and had input from
a committee tasked with question development,” says Throneberry. “Sally was a great guide who provided excellent, practical advice based on tried and true experience in developing questions for many other clients of Dynamic Benchmarking. Tapping into this knowledge was extremely valuable to the process.”
Because members are facilities, not individuals, a concern when building the study’s user interface was how to avoid the possibility of receiving duplicate data. A single sign-on system was instituted to address this. Additionally, the platform underwent extensive beta testing prior to its release to the entire ASCA member base to ensure users would be comfortable with the new format. Testers rated the study very highly for its ease of use and attractive layout.
On June 1, 2015, the Salary and Benefits Survey for ASCs was officially launched for data collection to the entire member base. The study collects salary data for 20 key positions and benefits information for all employees, dependents and domestic partners. Resulting reports provide data to inform budgeting and planning, staffing and hiring and overall employee retention strategies and tactics.
One of the most commented on features of the Dynamic Benchmarking platform was the dynamic reporting. Customizable filters provide users with meaningful data comparisons instantly, and remove the burden of manually compiling reports from the ASCA staff. The dynamic reporting also helped ASCA monitor the quality of the data during collection process.
“During data collection, we were able to use the filters and reports to monitor data quality,” adds Greenwich. “Because of the transparency and accessibility of the data we were able to easily identify outliers and contact participants to help correct data or clarify questions for more accurate responses.”
Overall feedback on the salary and benefits survey platform has been overwhelmingly positive from both members and ASCA staff. ASCA is even using survey data to inform educational programs and increase the value proposition for joining to non-members.
Due to the positive experiences of both ASCA staff and members, ASCA decided to transition their Clinical Operations Survey to the Dynamic Benchmarking platform as well. As part of industry-accepted best practices, most ASCs conduct quarterly reviews of their clinical operations, especially those who hold industry accreditations or answer to regulatory boards or oversight committees. ASCA has provided assistance in collecting and analyzing this data for several years through its Clinical Operations Survey. This quarterly survey was originally conducted using a primarily paper-based, static format and was later moved online, improving the process. After seeing the additional functionality that Dynamic Benchmarking brought to its Salary and Benefits Survey, ASCA saw an opportunity to further improve the process and results of the Clinical Operations Survey.
Because of the frequent nature of data collection for this survey, the new Clinical Operations Survey uses unique “interval” data collection and reporting features for automated, controlled opening and closing of data collection and reporting. This functionality saves significant time for ASCA survey administrators and ensures that the data being collected and reported is for the appropriate time period.
“Moving the Clinical Operations Survey online certainly streamlined the process considerably and reduced some of the workload,” states ASCA Chief Financial Officer, John Greenwich. “However, with the help of Dynamic Benchmarking, we’ve been able to improve the process even further while also adding improved data collection and reporting for our members.”
One of the more popular features with members is the use of industry standard language and measurements, something not always found with other benchmarking and survey solutions.
“Most of the users of the Clinical Operations Survey are nurses,” adds Gina Throneberry, Director of Education and Clinical Affairs for ASCA. “They want a system where they can easily interpret the results based on their experience and knowledge base. Dynamic Benchmarking does that. Results are presented in relevant clinical terms that can readily be presented to accreditors, regulatory boards and oversight committees.”
The first instance of the new Clinical Operations Survey collected data for Q1 2016 and released that data for reporting in May 2016. Response to date has been positive and all indications point to member satisfaction and increased usage going forward.
“Honestly, just the process alone makes a really big difference,” continues Greenwich. “Moving to Dynamic Benchmarking has resulted in numerous time savings and efficiencies for us as well as an overall improvement in data quality.”
And while transitioning two, large studies over the course of two, consecutive years might seem challenging for an association and its membership, that is certainly not the case with ASCA.
“A project like this can seem very daunting with all that is needed for a successful solution at launch, but Sally and the Dynamic Benchmarking team walked us through every step of the way and kept us on target,” states Greenwich. “The platform has a well-thought out and solid infrastructure that makes it intuitive and easy to navigate. It’s made everything we wanted to do very easy and efficient.”