Using a Scorecard for Strategic Results

Reprinted with permission from the November/December 2013 issue of Trustee magazine, vol. 66, no. 10. © 2013 by Health Forum Inc. All rights reserved. Permission granted for digital use only.

By Mary Totten

Although scorecards that measure health system performance against established metrics have become an increasingly common and useful tool in the trustee’s governance toolbox, finding concrete, comprehensive ways to measure how well the organization is achieving its strategic goals — and, in turn, determining incentive compensation based on goal achievement — can be a daunting, ephemeral task. Here’s how one health care system has successfully connected all the dots.

“My history in health care told me that we had superb financial information, but not superb information on quality or community benefit, so that started our organization on a journey to collect that data,” says Michael Connelly, president and CEO of Catholic Health Partners, Cincinnati, for the past 19 years. “It was fundamental to creating a scorecard that would give us a well-rounded picture of our ongoing progress toward achieving our mission and strategic priorities.” From medical charts to employee satisfaction surveys and hundreds of data points in between, the system began gathering its internal performance information 13 years ago, comparing its findings against national benchmarks, with a goal of achieving top quartile performance. At that time, CHP was merging several different regional health systems.

Establishing the same scorecard measures for all the merged entities was a vital process in unifying the system’s overall strategy and operations. Jane Durney Crowley, executive vice president of clinical integration and business development, worked with Connelly to develop the methodology for the scorecard based on the mission and vision. “From the beginning, we aimed to select a balanced set [of objectives] — quality, mission, human resources, physician partnerships or growth, and finance,” she says. “The executive management team, including field leaders, debated a draft set of objectives, asking such questions as: ‘Should we work on primary care alignment or post-acute services?

Should we emphasize staff retention or leadership diversity?’ “Next, concrete measures needed to be identified or developed for those processes,” she says. “For each measure, we established five levels of achievement — poor to excellent — specifically defined to help us understand performance expectations at each step along the way, so we would know ahead of time what excellent looked like.” CHP uses an independent third party to validate the data gathered and measured.

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