How Better Hospitals Use Scorecards

Measuring performance is essential, and many organizations use a scorecard or dashboard as one measurement tool. But what makes a good scorecard, and how should it be used?

            Some intriguing answers come out of a study conducted by Eugene Kroch, Ph.D., vice president and director of research for consulting firm CareScience. (This the second posting I’ve written about Kroch’s study; the first talked about the role of hospital leadership.)

            The study, described in a presentation at the recent conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), was based on 438 responses to a survey of top hospital executives in nine states (Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin).

            Kroch correlated the survey results with data developed by CareScience from several sources about hospital quality, to determine how the responses of the best-quality hospitals were different from all others.

            When it comes to dashboards, Kroch found that:

  • Dashboards with fewer measures are associated with higher quality. Seventy percent of all hospitals surveyed had dashboards with between 15 and 45 measures. (The full range was 2 to 104.) But the higher-quality hospitals had an average of 25.6, slightly below the overall average of 28.6.
  • High performers are more likely to view board dashboards on a monthly basis or more, while low performers view them quarterly or less.
  • At higher-quality hospitals, the board quality committee and the quality improvement staff are strongly involved in the development of dashboard content.
  • The better hospitals also use scorecards for more than just informational purposes. Specifically, better performance is associated with hospitals that link scorecards to quality improvement projects, daily operations management and public performance.
  • Hospitals using dashboards for more than two years have higher quality than those with a shorter history.

            As I said last time, the only people likely to be surprised by any of this are those not familiar with lean concepts. Let’s hope they are paying attention and take the information to heart.



Ralph Bernstein said...

3/21/2007 1:06:55 PM
Re: How Better Hospitals Use Scorecards
By: dcbliss

Amen. At our hospital, we have a balanced scorecard, we use it as a managment tool, and I use it in my Lean role as a reference point to determine priorities. It's an excellent process/tool/method to help manage a business, and frankly I don't know what we'd do without it.

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