Clinical Excellence and Metrics

We recognize that culture is a powerful driver of individual and group thinking, actions, outcomes and performance. Tools should be operationally effective, support professional standards for patient treatment, information capture and presentation. They should be purpose built for scale and complexity of your organization to enable excellence in clinical care.

So you have a commitment to clinical performance, enabled by a sound tool set, built with your organization in mind. How do we hold ourselves accountable for disciplined, effective personal and collective performance? In an objective manner that can demonstrate quality to ourselves and others?  Most importantly, how do we ensure that our tool-enabled commitment to clinical excellence results in the care every patient deserves?

The answer is metrics.

After designing sound clinical processes, based on published standards of quality; communicated clearly and consistently; we must acquire a habit of execution from every team member. Everyone must understand individual and collective expectations. Training is essential to assure a sound foundation for effective adoption and performance. Effective communication about metrics starts at training.

Introduction of all training programs should include a brief overview of how metrics are incorporated into program design. Goals for metrics which drive effective training:
  • Attendance by leaders and staff to build commitment
  • Test to assure staff mastery
  • Demonstrate readiness to adopt new process effectively without error or confusion.

Once a new program and its collection of processes and standards are implemented, metrics are used for both adoption and effectiveness.  There should be trended reports that show progress over time against established goals.

Operational metrics analyze program impact on quality, cost and other expected outcomes and demonstrate the program’s effectiveness when executed soundly. However, Additional change may be required to achieve expected outcomes, be ready to learn and continuously improve.

Individual Level Metrics-

Individual level metrics should track mastery, compliance, productivity and other elements of personal performance. However, these should be private metrics, management uses to work with every staff member to drive mastery and adoption universally. A crucial test of organizational commitment to clinical excellence will be encountered when those members who cannot or will not get on board to improve performance and outcomes must be dealt with. Patient safety and quality of care are too important to relax expectations or make accommodations. Moreover, every effort should be made to help all team members to join up and perform as part of the team resulting in an optimally functioning team.

Remember, measures must be revisited periodically to align execution with new requirements and standards. As drivers of clinical excellence evolve over time, so must practices and their measurements which assure success.

The old proverb about getting what you measure is very true. A robust, thoughtful and public commitment to metrics as a regular element of every initiative will go far in convincing staff that management is serious, committed, professional and objective about excellence.

Gary-Seay.jpgGary Seay is Principal of BrightWork Advisory,LLC., a practice focused on enabling innovative healthcare solution success.  Mr. Seay is an author, speaker and advisor possessing extensive executive experience with major healthcare provider systems, managed care organizations, venture capital firms, and academic programs.  He can be reached at