Organizations need performance measures in order to reduce costs and increase efficiency in a laboratory. Performance measures are indicators that are used to gauge program performance. Performance measures can be either outcome or output measures. Outputs are the services an organization provides to other. In other words, a laboratory provides patients with testing and the results. An effective measurement system integrates initiatives, aligns organizational units and improves performance. Organizations need measures for three purposes, to drive strategies into action, to evaluate effectiveness of the actions, and to continuously improve processes. By understanding how measurements will be used, it becomes easier to understand what measures to have. Measures are needed to test various cause and effect relationships at every stage in the organizational processes. The first cause and effect situation must test an organizations strategic plan. A healthcare setting, such as a laboratory, must figure out how a specific level of clinical quality will be achieved. Areas of the laboratory that need to be included in this cause and effect relationship not only included the clinical technologists, but the information systems being used, the management processes and the leadership system. Another cause and effect situation involved to determine quality improvement with cutting costs is achieved at the process lever. This level explains how processes affect specific outcomes. Managers should continually increase their understanding of how processes affect outcomes. That understanding comes from establishing relationships between process measures and outcome measures. Too often, process improvement teams fail to establish that relationship because they focus only on process measures or only on outcome measures. Their resulting control system then becomes a barrier to effective continuous improvement.
Methodologies of Performance Measurements
Focusing on ways to evaluate performance, hospitals are issuing report cards. Consumers and employers are encouraged to report their efforts to the public on quality. Inappropriate procedures, inaccurate patient histories and over use of high tech testing are all ways in which costs are increasing. These report cards measure the frequency and quality of these indicators. Consumer reports cards are helpful as a way to generate business if the ratings are high in customer satisfaction (Stankovic, 2004, p. 1024). Proficiency Testing
Healthcare is like any other service where some providers are better than others. Quality of care is critical to the patients. Measuring health care quality is very complex. Organizations of insurers and health care providers have joined together to create standards and measures of quality. The laboratory is monitored by many governmental agencies. These agencies provide external proficiency specimens to be tested by the laboratory. This type of unknown testing measures accuracy of laboratory procedures and knowledge. With the government overseeing these processes the laboratory can remain in business and make money. However, this methodology does not give directly related to cost reduction in that is may not be able to be verified if there was repeat testing since the result is the only standard recorded to the governing agency. Laboratory Metrics Data
Metrics can communicate and reinforce a clear set of standards and provide measurement of performance against those standards. Process performance measures such as metrics capture cost, cycle time, conformance to standards, quality and quantity. Metrics can always identify areas needed for improvement allowing for early corrective actions. There are two types of metrics, process and outcome metrics. Process metrics are a means of getting to desired results, with outcome metrics being the desired results. Outcome metrics are the things...