NHS organisations have a hugely challenging agenda to deal with.
On one hand they have a service that is widely used with rising demand. An ageing population is meaning that the patients who are accessing services often have more complex needs that have to be met. This puts pressure on meeting targets and providing good quality care.
In addition there is also pressure on the amount of money available for services.
While there is always going to be conflicting demands, how can the whole agenda of money, quality and performance be addressed?
Start By Defining Performance Levels
Yes there are targets but to achieve targets there are a huge range of supporting activities that have to happen in order to meet those end targets. To achieve those steps towards achieving targets requires people and teams to work together effectively, to solve problems, to be proactive, to stay focused and prioritise.
While there may or may not be performance levels specified for some of the activities or behaviours, is this in place for all of the activities and behaviours?
Yes it may take time to do it will provide valuable insights into the key success factors to delivering consistently good performance.
Start By Defining Quality
The word quality is banded around a lot. At the same time what does providing a quality service in your organisation actually mean? Of course it is likely to include some generics that would apply to all NHS organisations like cleanliness and compassion. Again getting a clear understanding of quality will help everyone in taking decisions.
Understand That Financial Metrics Merely Tell You What Is Or What Is Not Happening In A Common Currency Called Money
If you are clear about performance levels and the enablers of achieving these then your financial metrics will merely tell you whether what should be happening is actually happening in money terms. Similarly once you have defined quality standards and provided an appropriate level of money to achieve those standards, hitting those quality standards will not cost more. What will cost more is when the base standards are not met.
Use Multiple Measures of Performance
A balanced scorecard approach, where you identify critical themes and then set objectives under each of these themes helps to keep the focus on the whole picture rather than just one aspect. It also allows you to use this framework to set team and individual objectives.
In truth getting the balance right between money, quality and performance is a big leadership challenge in the NHS. Setting aside some time to put in place the right framework can often yield significant benefits.
If you are struggling to put in place a framework for effectively measuring what matters, Goals and Achievements measures that matter programme might be for your organisation. To learn more please contact us.