Performance and control problems in health-care facilities

KPIs are one of the ways of ensuring that the organizations are employing the resources in the best possible manner and not groping in the dark for hitting the bull-s eye.

They become all the more important for service-oriented organizations as they are required to perform more responsibly and efficiently. A case in point can be of Health Care facilities. No-one would like to be in a situation "I went to get a treatment for cancer and have returned with malaria". They have to deal with human lives which cannot be experimented upon like guinea pigs. KPIs are metrics which include both financial and non-financial dimensions so as to give a holistic view of the organization-s performance.

Specific Criteria for Health Care Industry. KPIs belonging to any industry should be measurable, achievable, result-oriented and time-bound. A few of the KPIs specific to the Health Care Industry can be outlined as:

" Financial Evaluation, which can be performed through parameters like % of inpatient and outpatient revenue, % of medicaid revenue, etc.

" Customer perspective can be known from quantitave measures such as customer complaints, cost of treatment, etc.

" Efficiency of operations can be judged best from surgical cases inpatient and outpatient, outside labor as % of total, etc.

" Apart from these, Social Accountability would be known from Charity Applications approved, Disposal and Recycling of Medical Waste etc.

Key Challenges. One of the biggest challenges such facilities have to face is related to procurement of funds. Ever increasing pace of research and development (though gradually) is bringing newer and more expensive technologies with it that is out of reach of financially constrained organizations. Though options for raising funds across the boundaries are much talked of, but that is easier said than done. Yet another one is the danger to the staff-s health itself. They are exposed to the hazards of chemicals, X-ray, laboratories and radioactive material. Some other key challenges pertain to the tremendous efforts put in for reducing the costs associated with the treatments, workforce shortages, patient-privacy, being more responsive to customers, slow growth rate and reductions in state funding. So in a way they not only have to fulfill the expectations of patients but also of their employees. This calls for a higher scrutiny of their operations and stricter control parameters.

How KPIs Help" KPIs are to Health Care Facilities what Health is to a Human Being. These in a way are responsible for "checking the health of Health Care Facilities". They act as the "healthometers" of such organizations. They help portray the present status of the company in both financial and non-financial terms and know whether they are stepping towards the achievement of the pre-set goals or not. Deviations can be checked and minimized to attain effective, efficient and optimum utilization of the all the resources- financial, physical and human. KPIs such as medicaid, revenues, number of outpatients and inpatients, social responsibility initiatives, etc. can be used successfully in case of health care facilities.

In a nut shell, Health care facilities though sandwiched between the need for decreasing treatment costs and increasing equipments costs should find some alternatives to strike a balance between the two opposing forces. Need of the hour is to dig out some new sources of obtaining funds for both providing better services to the patients as well as taking care of the health aspect of the employees. Managing these issues is an uphill task but can be eased to some extent by adopting certain tools like balanced scorecards and KPIs.