Presenting a "Balanced Scorecard" of Management Information: For Youth Villages' Executive, the Best Measurement Tools "Start with What You Have"

Article excerpt

Hughes Johnson, Director of Performance Improvement at Youth Villages, sees the development of quality measurement and performance management systems as a process of "building the airplane while you're flying it." While this sounds like a risky proposition, his 20 years of experience at this major Tennessee-based provider, which offers an array of services in eleven states, assures him that there's no other way.

"In order to build a system of measurement, you have to choose a place to start and then start with what you have, however imperfect," says Johnson. "At Youth Villages, we break our performance measures into three areas: Those that define our clinical programs, those that provide key operational measures, and those that track the success of children and families served by Youth Villages."

Of course, the magic of this approach, as Johnson will explain in one session of September's upcoming Behavioral Healthcare Leadership Summit, is in "breaking down these three components of measurement into presentable pieces, into bits of information that give a definition to each of those parts in a way that will support their implementation." Johnson's presentation therefore dives into three levels of measuring and managing performance.

The first essential level of measurement involves clinical programs. "It is essential to define the key elements of a clinical program or treatment model so that you can measure model fidelity or drift over time." In his Summit presentation, Johnson will highlight and share a detailed example: Youth Villages' clinical adherence model for residential treatment.

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"With this and any model, it is important to define not only the clinical interventions involved, but the specific patterns required to execute them." On the clinical level, Youth Villages defines and trains these models to its clinical staff, who then keep clinical level measures of performance, quality, and treatment fidelity. Every six months or so, key clinical indicators are measured for each program and its ongoing adherence to program models as its performance is reviewed by senior management. …