Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Editorial

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

Editorial

Article excerpt

WE ALL KNOW that measuring performance in healthcare is not an easy task. It's costly, inefficient, and in flux. And yet it has to be done-not only because the data are mandated by various agencies and linked to incentives, but also because organizations are more likely to improve by measuring and comparing their data with others. In this edition of Frontiers, seven experts weigh in on this issue, providing insights and guidance for senior executives.

In "Taming the Measurement Monster," Patrice Spath, a national consultant on healthcare quality and safety, suggests that senior leaders can "create a meaningful and efficient performance measurement system that complements the quality mission of the organization and meets the expectations of purchasers, accrediting bodies, and consumers." She provides steps for maximizing an organization's performance measurement system and tools to integrate externally defined measures with an organization's own measurement priorities. Spath also emphasizes the importance of executive leadership in the process.

Ron J. Anderson, M.D., Ruben Amarasingham, M.D., and S. Sue Pickens of Parkland Health and Hospital Systems in Dallas illustrate how one healthcare system approached the "measurement monster." Parkland's approach focuses on three components: the role of senior leaders in institutionalizing quality into the fabric of the organization; the process of data selection, collection, and analysis; and the development of a robust outcomes research infrastructure. The article elaborates on how Parkland approached each of these components, both internally and in the community, and provides examples of what worked and what didn't work. They conclude with a discussion of several concrete steps to manage and improve clinical processes.

For Thomas C. Royer, M.D., president and CEO of CHRISTUS Health in Texas, measurement is a necessity, not a luxury. However, to be successful these measures must accompany an organizational shift to a culture of transparency and accountability. All members of the healthcare delivery process must feel and be responsible for the care delivered. …

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