Measuring to the Mission
By Troy Brown, Client Relations Manager.
We have all seen the carefully constructed mission statements, whether emblazoned on a lobby plaque or posted on the website of our local hospital. The intent is usually stated clearly improving the health and wellness of the communities we serve. But are we truly meeting our mission?
Sure, there are benchmarks which help us measure our success in reaching these aspirational goals, relative to our peers Hospital/Nursing Home Compare, HCAHPS, and yes, even iVantage Health Analytics. However, does this information tell the whole story? What are we doing with this information? Is the data being used to inform decisions on improvement measures or do we make excuses for the results? (i.e., “our number of cases is too small”, “we are only off by 2% compared to the average”, or my favorite, “our patients are sicker”) These excuses may be valid and can certainly explain why a facility may not be meeting the benchmarks. However, if we look at the variation in terms of opportunity rather than a penalty, a course of action becomes apparent.
Many of our rural partners are plagued by low volumes in many of the public reporting arenas. As such, their scores can be skewed and “justified away” with excuses. Keeping our mission statements in mind, should these excuses be justified? How many preventable infections are acceptable to your community? What about a 2% variance in mortality rates is this acceptable to your family and neighbors? In my mind, we should strive for perfection. After all, this is your friends and family we are talking about!
How are healthcare institutions measuring their success in meeting these lofty mission statements?
- Consider employing a Balanced Scorecard approach for improvement, where each key statement of the mission is linked with a series of indicators in order to monitor success.
- Make sure every employee in the organization is aware of the mission, what the organization is doing to meet the mission, and how they factor into the overall success of the mission.
- Treat variations in targeted goals as an opportunity with immediate measures taken to move the needle.
- Employ root cause analysis, Lean methods, or a myriad of other approaches in order to show marked timely improvement.
This process should not be taken lightly and never be excused. Remember, this is not only your mission for existence as a healthcare institution we are talking about the health and wellness of your friends and family. Aren’t they worth the investigation of 2%?