Orion Outcomes will remind you to benchmark your data every 90 days. This is configurable through the Tools->Option menu.
However, you need not wait for the reminder to benchmark your data. You can benchmark at any time by simply going to the File->Import/Export option and following the steps.
Our benchmarking service reports on a 12-month sliding window. So every report will contain your last 12 months worth of data rounded to the nearest completed calendar quarter. Calendar quarters start on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. At midnight of that day, we advance the window forward by a quarter. For example, if you benchmark your data on 1/2/2009, you would receive a report containing data for 1/1/2008 - 12/31/2008. We would not move the window forward until 4/1/2009. If you benchmarked again on that day, you would receive a report that covered 4/1/2008 - 3/31/2009.
The one year window is to help smooth out the statistical bumps that would occur at any lesser interval. Programs could go from a very high percentile to a very low percentile in only a quarter. By moving to a year window, a new quarter comes in while an old quarter goes out and three quarters remain. This helps keep trends in line for all programs.
Also, since programs are not required to benchmark on a certain date, the sliding window helps account for programs that benchmark early in a quarter vs. late in a quarter.
Often programs will still insist on a quarterly report -- if so, then run one at your site. You can always run reports locally and compare how your program did against itself quarter to quarter. Look for the CQI report inside of the program reports for starters. That will help you see quarter over quarter how you are trending internally. That should be the first thing you are worrying about -- is my program getting better? If so, then the benchmarking is only an external validation to see if you are getting better fast enough, meaning at pace with your peers. And given the fluctuation in that peer group, that is best done at regular intervals over long periods of time.
16 Dec 2009 03:28 PM MST
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