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By Market Intelligence Team

Does your management team know what data is available in your organization, how to get it, and how to use it? When used correctly, measurement data can help an executive team better leads its organization and can help direct the organization toward positive change. Most organizations have the data they need to support metrics-based management in their current information systems, but they struggle with not knowing how to organize the information. I would like to share with you what I call the “four cornerstones” of metrics-based management for driving innovation, enhancing care quality, and improving operational performance:

  • Routine management reports. These provide the foundation of information for daily operations. Some examples of routine internal reporting would be: caseload report, staff productivity report, waiting list report, and no-show and cancellation report.

  • Key performance indicators (KPIs). These financial and non-financial measures—linked to an organization’s strategic and operational plans—are used by management teams to ensure the organization is moving forward in achieving its strategic objectives. Driven by structured data from the information system, KPIs represent those data points that measure your organization’s ‘health.’

  • Benchmarking and performance targets. These continually challenge an organization to improve quality and operations. You can benchmark to compare with other firms in the industry, to develop cross-industry comparisons, to develop standards of practice, to make best-in-class determinations, and to develop best practices. Try taking a collaborative approach by developing a group of organizations to initiate the process; then establish an agreement about process, goals, and measures. After that you are ready to collect and analyze data.

  • Management dashboards. These are discrete performance metrics that measure critical operational components of your organization. Examples of useful dashboards include daily census versus budget; productivity or units of service month-to-date versus budget. Work with your technology team to select computer screen dashboards, widgets, or smart phone and e-mail alerts—they are must-haves!

There is much more to be learned about employing the four cornerstones. To dig into the various facets of metrics-based management, I recommend viewing my full presentation from the 2009 OPEN MINDS Strategic Planning Institute, “Metrics-Based Management: Using Data to Enhance Operations and Track the Progress of Your Strategic Plan


Joe Naughton-Travers, Ed.M.

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

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Interested OPEN MINDS Premium Circle members may also wish to access “Using KPIs in Behavioral Health & Social Service Organizations: Put Management Back into Management Information Systems.” This article illuminates how successful use of this KPIs will help to define what matters most to your organization and also make your strategic management plan meaningful in the day-to-day operation of your establishment.

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