WHA offers members access to a highly specialised benchmarking program tailored to meet members’ needs. Benchmarking clinical care processes and outcomes with peers is vital for maternity care services seeking to assess the quality and safety of care provided. Since 1997 WHA has been providing a tailored benchmarking service to our member hospitals, allowing them to compare costs and patient outcomes with other hospitals throughout Australia.  

Our benchmarking program focuses on two main areas of performance;

  • Clinical performance, including measures of complexity in women accessing each service, rates of interventions during labour and birth, unintended harms to women associated with labour and birth, and newborn outcomes .  
  • Operational performance, including the numbers of women and newborns cared for by diagnosis, their Average Length of Stay and Average Costs compared to peers and to the National Efficient Price.  

WHA's benchmarking program has been significantly enhanced in both of these areas in recent years.  Because of the significant growth in participation in the WHA community, it is now possible to provide meaningful benchmarks to member hospitals with peer services of a similar size and capabilitiy, as well as with the maternity & newborn care sector as a whole.  This provides richer insights into decisionmaking about unwarranted variation, resource allocation and efforts to enhance outcomes for women and newborns. 

WHA's benchmarking program provides every participating maternity service with tailored reports that enable them to identify areas in which they are performaing strongly, as well as opportunities to enhance performance, improve patient care and lower costs.  Data from the program is regularly analysed within the various networking groups of WHA, and members generously share insights with peers about how they are achieving favourable performance in a given area.  Through sharing ideas and knowledge of innovation and best practice, all members have the opportunity to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the care they provide to women and newborns.  


    Activity and Costing

    Each year, WHA produces an Activity and Costing Benchmarking Report. This report assists members to improve efficiency and to maximise DRG based income by identifying and analysing variation, ensuring costing methodologies are rigorous and comparable, and sharing strategies to contain or reduce costs where feasible. 

    Maternity services are benchmarked withing pools of peer services of similar size and capability.  Each service contributing data receives a tailored report, identifying diagnoses for maternity and newborn care where they sit as outliers in comparison with peers and/or with the National Efficient Price set by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority.  The reports provide a basis for understanding variance, and for determining ways to contain costs in an environment of budgetary restraint.  WHA also facliates sharing of best practice among member services who are successfully containing costs & the strategies that are proving to be effective.  


    Clinical Indicators

    All WHA members are invited to participate in our annual clinical indicators Benchmarking program. Since 1997 WHA has been collating an annual report on clinical indicators of maternity care outcomes called ‘Benchmarking Maternity Care’. This report takes into account data from approximately 100 hospitals, covering around 150,000 births, or two thirds of all births each year in public hospital. The indicators have been developed and refined by members, taking into account relevance, capacity to collect valid and reliable data, and competing demands. Recently, the report has been updated so that small services (with fewer than 500 births per annum) are benchmarked exclusively against similar-sized units, rather than against larger tertiary hospitals.

    Data is presented in an easy to interpret format which allows individual members to:

    • assess performance relative to peers
    • identify priority areas for performance improvement
    • evaluate any improvement processes they implement
    • track trends over time for specific indicators for both their own service and the sector as a whole


    Get Involved

    WHA invites all member maternity services to participate in our annual Benchmarking program. Our participating members receive:

    • Print and digital copies of their tailored Benchmarking Reports
    • Ongoing support from our Benchmarking team
    • Evidence of benchmarking participation to assist with accreditation
    • Access to WHA networks discussing benchmarking data & its implications 

    To participate in our benchmarking services, your hospital needs to be a member with WHA. By first checking that your hospital is a member, you can then sign up or log in here. You can learn more about your service becoming a member with WHA here.