Developing and Using Effective Indicators

What’s measured improves.

—Peter F. Drucker

Healthcare organizations (HCOs) have more data available to them than ever before. Raw data is rarely useful, however, for healthcare quality and performance improvement. To begin with, there is now often too much data generated through all the activities and systems within healthcare to use effectively. Indicators provide convenient performance snapshots of processes, financial measures, and outcomes critical to the quality and performance goals of the HCO. This chapter will discuss the importance of indicators in quality and performance improvement, and how to create or choose indicators that are most effective for the requirements of your HCO.

Measures, Metrics, and Indicators

There is a saying that “you can’t improve what you can’t measure.” While this may not be strictly true—I have seen HCO undergo tremendous improvement via the foresight and vision of remarkable leaders—bringing about change in healthcare requires measurement of processes and workflows and effective representation of those measurements.

As a result of the increasing volumes of available data and the abundance of analysis tools, many different reports, dashboards, and other information requests are being generated for decision making. Even though HCOs are experiencing a proliferation of dashboards and other information tools, many are still struggling to improve their quality, performance, and competitiveness. ...

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