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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

8 Performance Metrics Your Healthcare Organization Must Start Tracking Now

Sep 22, 2015 9:30:00 AM Posted by Paul Sliva | Sr. Healthcare IT Consultant

To run Learn 8 performance metrics your hospital should be tracking to improve operations. efficiently and provide the best patient care possible, your small to mid-size healthcare organization must compile and analyze key performance metrics on a routine basis.

No exceptions.

With the right operational and information technology metrics in hand, your leadership has the insight it needs to make strategic, data-driven decisions that achieve results.

You know the obvious ones, like procedures by department, ED wait time and admission count by clinic. But, if you want to precisely focus your efforts, improve efficiency and drive value, it’s time to go deeper.

To help set you on the path to success, we’ve assembled eight performance metrics you should measure using an information dashboard.

Operational Metrics

Your hospital must track operational performance metrics to assess and improve day-to-day efficiency. Areas worth looking at include:

  • 1. A/R Days Due To Coding: To improve your revenue cycle, identify and compare any services, patient types and departments that are holding up the delivery of bills to payers.
  • 2. Outlier Average Length Of Stay (ALOS): Determine the outlier average for patients outside of the ALOS. Use this data to figure out why outliers occurred, and make process improvements accordingly.
  • 3. Inventory Turns For High-Cost Items: Review how often high-cost items are being stocked and used. For those used less frequently, consider reducing inventory or swapping out for equivalent products that are lower in cost.
  • 4. Inventory Loss Due To Expiration: Capture the quantity and cost of expired inventory. Some items may not be getting used fast enough (or at all), thereby burning up your budget.
  • 5. Registration/Admission Error Rate: Determine the number of data errors per number of registrations/admissions. Bad data at the front end disrupts care and revenue cycle processes downstream.

Use this information to set performance goals, increase efficiency and strive for greater patient value. Then, shape your workflow to help meet these goals on time and on budget.

Here’s a quick tip: A lean healthcare strategy can help you eliminate obstacles impacting your workflow and, as a result, patient value.

IT Metrics

Next, make sure your organization tracks the right information technology metrics. It’s the only way to determine whether your technology is helping you meet goals or holding it back.

Go deeper than “uptime.” Specifically, start monitoring:

  • 6. Ticket Resolution Speed: Determine how much time it takes your IT staff to resolve clinician issues on average. If ticket resolution time isn’t improving over time, your IT spend isn’t producing high operational value, and it might be time for a new strategy.
  • 7. User Adoption: Dive into your HCIS to find out where end users are spending their time, and use that information to determine whether clinicians are adhering to your process and technology best practices. CPOE documentation is a good place to start. By consistently entering key information, your physicians can improve coding and drive revenue. The data they enter is highly trackable and should be monitored closely.
  • 8. Service Requests: Tracking your IT department’s top three requested services is a great way to identify specific long-term technology workflow issues that require resolution. For instance, if IT receives a high volume of complaints about printing, target the heavy-hitting departments and identify problems. Then, find out why they’re printing so much in the first place and work toward a better long-term process. 
  • How Much Will A Help Desk Cost Me?

Ultimately, your technology shouldn’t exist to keep you compliant. It should make your hospital more efficient and help your clinicians and staff deliver greater patient value. Assess your IT performance in detail to figure out when and where to optimize your systems and processes.

The Right Tool For The Job

Now that you know some performance metrics to track in your healthcare organization, it’s time to think about the best way to compile and analyze them.

Here’s our #1 tip: Don’t manually record metrics in a spreadsheet or word processor. That’s a surefire way to waste time and distract core members of your staff.

Instead, utilize a healthcare information dashboard that automatically pulls metrics from your HCIS and presents them in a graphical, easily digestible way. It saves you considerable time and makes leadership’s analysis a lot easier, too.

Trust Your Data, Not Your Gut

Your small to mid-size healthcare organization’s strategy, policies and budget should be guided by evidence, not intuition. Start analyzing your operational and technology performance metrics to set yourself up for positive change and a greater return on investment.


Paul Sliva | Sr. Healthcare IT Consultant

Paul provides healthcare providers with a variety of Strategic Advisory and CIO services such as software selection and implementation projects, Meaningful Use incentive reimbursement, and IT strategic planning. Paul enjoys solving healthcare business issues using practical strategies and methods, partnered with solid IT resources to get the best possible outcomes for clients.