Any time you plan a test of change, it's important to identify and collect metrics so you and your team know if the change is having a positive impact. This is important for your immediate work team—and critical if you want to share with and demonstrate to others the impact of what you're doing.
While many of your clinic's metrics are collected by Kaiser Permanente's national offices, you may need additional or more frequent metrics. Once you've identified which metrics you want to track, you'll need to develop a plan to get those metrics. Your local or national project manager can assist with this plan.
Matching metrics to goals
When a team is trying to figure out what it should measure or how it can get access to data, this list of questions can help focus its efforts.
What is your overall goal?
Before jumping into the question of metrics, the team needs to be clear on its performance excellence goal. If the goal is closely aligned with one of the points on the Value Compass, there may be an existing metric to measure progress toward that goal.
Are we currently measuring that goal?
When the team has a clear idea of the goal, investigate whether any of Kaiser Permanente's existing performance measures are a good fit. If not, would it make sense to adjust the goal so the team can take advantage of existing reporting systems?
Can we measure things that drive the outcome?
In some cases, it may be more appropriate to measure certain "drivers" – that is to say, actions that affect the outcome – rather than the outcome itself. For example, month-to-month data for strokes and heart attacks will often be too variable to be a reliable measure of the team's performance. Instead, a team can focus on key drivers of the outcome and measure and track those. Effectively controlling hypertension will "drive" the desired outcome of fewer strokes and heart attacks – and can be measured meaningfully at the unit level.
Is the measure "good enough"?
Just because a measure isn't exactly what you are looking for doesn't mean it can't be helpful. It may shed light on whether a team's test of change is working, providing the feedback needed to continue the activity and perhaps refine the measure.
Is the target reasonable?
A good target will stretch the team and encourages it to perform at its best – but not so hard it becomes a source of discouragement. Try looking at the three best-performing teams or departments in your medical center or region and aim for their level of performance. It's important for team leaders to provide a "reality check" to teams so that they don't set their sights too low or too high.
Communicate to the team about the metrics
Everyone on the team should understand how the metric works and how each team member can work to improve it. If necessary, team leaders and sponsors may seek out a member of the medical center's analytics department to help explain the metrics the organization is using.
Where to get performance measurement data
People can find data to measure performance from three general places:
- Reports: This is the most common source of data. Reports are created by KP national and regional offices and many medical centers. No additional resources are needed to generate the data, but the existing data may not have exactly what you need. Your clinic's manager may already be receiving the report you need. Quality and membership satisfaction information is posted on regional websites or accessible through the Panel Support Tool or CarePoint.
- Raw data: Even if Kaiser Permanente doesn't have an existing report on the metric you need, the data may be collected and stored electronically—and can be extracted by someone with the right programming skills. This is generally more complicated and expensive than using existing reports. The potential benefit is that you may be able to construct precisely the metric you need.
- Self-collected: In cases where no data currently exists in a report or database, you may want to consider collecting the data yourself. For example, KP currently does not have a database for recording whether patient care staff are washing their hands regularly. Before constructing your own data collection tool, check with other teams and departments doing similar work to see if they have already created something.
If you're having difficulty, consider talking to your sponsors about requesting help from a local analyst. Having an analyst as part of the team, even if he or she can't attend every meeting, can be very helpful!
For attractive, easy-to-print versions of the information of this page, download the tools What Is Your Team's Metrics Strategy? and Coaching Co-Leads on Use of Metrics.