What constitutes a reasonable number of indicators depends on the scope and purpose of the organisation. In healthcare performance dashboards can very quickly become unwieldy. Some suggest that 10 to 20 indicators per department is a good goal. But assuming most healthcare organisations have 40 major departments and accepting there will be some overlap in indicators, that would reduce the overall indicator count, the performance dashboard can easily approach 200 to 300 metrics.
A review of NHS board reports shows that this is indeed the case for many organisations. Not only does the administration of this constitute a major investment in time and resources. When board level leaders are presented with a scorecard composed of such a large number of KPIs the danger is that the indicators may be too diverse relative to the decision makers’ needs. If so, then the resulting score cards will serve merely as distractions.

As a benchmark of the most appropriate number of indicators for executive management, consider that when the internationally renowned Mayo Clinic started on its scorecard project, it created an unwieldy KPI wish list. After assessing the actual needs of the executives just 14 indicators were chosen for the clinic’s initial executive scorecard.

Bryan Bergerson’s book ‘Performance Management in Healthcare’ suggests that the maximum number of indicators that allow ‘Meaningful Use’ is 38 with many organisations aiming for executive levels scorecards limited to 30 KPIs. Limiting the scorecard size to 30 metrics has another key advantage of being able to be presented on a single page, which supports an ‘at a glance view’ to enable quick focus on items that warrant in depth discussion.

Whilst the executive level view needs to not become so large so to merely be a distraction, it is important that organisations have access to many more KPIs for in depth reviews at department level. As such, it is recommended that organisations have a library of KPIs on hand.

The Public View tool contains a library of 1,000s of indicators from 100s of unique public data sets. This is presented in a main scorecard of 32 metrics that cover a broad spectrum of NHS quality standards. To support executive review even further a second scorecard called ‘Headlines’ presents 12 indicators made up of;

  • The 3 Top Achievements (best performing metrics)
  • The 3 Key Concerns (worse performing metrics)
  • The 3 Most Improved (metrics showing most progress since last period)
  • The 3 Most Deteriorated (metrics showing most decline since last period)

To view your organisation’s full and headlines dashboard click here to register for a free trial account.