The application of valid measures for the assessment of organizational performance is a critical function of a leader, which should be used to inform their decision-making process. This paper aims to discuss two chapters on quality measurement tools and metrics in the context of nursing.
Dashboards and Scorecards
A chapter by Pugh (2008) details the use of dashboards and scorecards for measuring the ongoing performance of healthcare organizations. The author stresses that even though these two tools are distinct, their scope of use and practical application are not markedly different (Pugh, 2008). The scholar makes it clear that scorecards and dashboards can serve as objective measures needed to evaluate performance, create alignment, and close quality gaps (Pugh, 2008). The effectiveness of the instruments is rooted in their ability to collect and display unbiased data that can increase understanding of healthcare practitioners.
The information presented in the chapter is consistent with the underpinnings of quality improvement (QI) and strategic planning initiatives in nursing. Dashboards and scorecards can help nursing leaders to assess the current standing of their departments about a wide-range of measures. Furthermore, the instruments are fairly effective in overcoming barriers to quality information sharing.
Pugh (2008) maintains that nursing leaders can assess the following quality aims with the help of scorecards: safety, efficiency, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity. The instrument can also be used for tracking nursing care quality indicators of family-centeredness. Taking into consideration the fact that hospitals are multidimensional service-delivery structures, nursing leaders should make use of effective management tools such as scorecards and dashboards.
Metrics and Stakeholders
The successful implementation of nursing QI initiatives presupposes the stage of outcome evaluation. To assess the effectiveness of a project, it is necessary to collect and analyze information associated with the primary and secondary goals of a program. A chapter by Sorenson (n.d.) discusses how different perspectives on outcomes of an initiative can change the measurement of its key metrics. The author points to the fact that several groups of stakeholders involved in a change project can have radically different perspectives (Sorenson, n.d.). It follows that nursing leaders should be extremely careful when designing control measures for their QI initiatives.
It has to be borne in mind that stakeholders’ interests vary based on their units and administrative levels. For example, metrics evaluating nursing care in acute care units differ from those used for post-anesthesia care units.
Sorenson (n.d.) argues that goals and processes should also inform healthcare professionals designing outcome measures. The scholar emphasizes the importance of a critical approach to terms associated with the evaluation of outcomes (Sorenson, n.d.). It is not hard to understand the author’s perspective since many nursing concepts such as patient-centeredness and equity have multiple definitions. The chapter also discusses the timing of evaluation as a critical consideration during the process of designing outcome measures (Sorenson, n.d.). It is valuable information since numerous QI efforts necessitate several evaluation stages, which presuppose the consideration of timing variables.
The paper has discussed two chapters on quality measurement tools and outcome metrics used in nursing practice. It has been argued that forward-looking nursing leaders should use dashboards and checklists when planning, implementing and evaluating QI efforts at their organizations. The importance of the inclusion of multiple stakeholders’ perspectives into outcome measures has also been emphasized in the paper.
Pugh, M. D. (2008). Dashboards and scorecards: Tools for creating alignment. In E. R. Ransom, M. S. Joshi, D. B. Nash, & S. B. Ransom (Eds.), The healthcare quality book (2nd ed.) (pp. 241- 267). Washington, DC: Aupha.
Sorenson, M. (n.d.). Evaluating a program: Metrics and stakeholders.