Every NHS organisation is significant in terms of size and scale. Like many large organisations there is no shortage of targets that have to be met.
While targets have their place, what any large organisation, including the NHS wants is to have a set of performance measures that measure what matters.
The challenge is to set performance measures or key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure what is critical to the current and future performance of the organisation.
Trouble is that it is all too easy to simply respond to the central targets that are set and not take the time to clearly define what really matters at a local level.
So how can you get beyond simply responding to targets and move to setting meaningful measures?
Be Clear On Your Core Purpose
One would think that in the NHS this would be a given. Yet as high profile events like Mid Staffs show, it is really easy to lose sight of your core purpose.
Set Clear Goals
There are obviously going to be goals at an organisational level. These however need to be broken down into meaningful goals at a department or specialty level.
Identify Critical Success Factors
You don’t achieve goals by chance. There are certain factors that contribute to success and others that don’t. There are also those that are so critical to success that if you don’t get them right it is going to be almost impossible to achieve your goals.
Identify Potential Measures
The most important thing to do is ensure that this is done very systematically. If you have critical success factors clearly identified you want your measures to be closely aligned to those critical success factors.
Select Your Measures
All of the measures you identify will have value. What you want to do however is to select those measures that are going to give you the greatest confidence or assurance on whether you are on or off track.
Define How Measures Will Be Calculated
I am sure we can all think of times when someone thought we were measuring one thing and someone else thought that something different was being measured. Clear definition avoids this.
Test and Refine
Chances of you getting it spot on first time are slim. It is therefore essential to test, see the impact and then refine measures.
The Reality: There is no shortage of data in the NHS but there are real challenges on time, so you want to have measures that enable you to quickly determine whether you are on or off track.
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