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  • Writer's pictureStephen Harden

How to Use a Scorecard to Improve Patient Safety

Scorecards drive better safety and quality performance.

The evidence is clear that solid feedback in the form of a measurement scorecard enhances performance—at all levels and across all organizational units.

When people people and groups throughout an enterprise know how they are doing and what needs improving, they do better.

Want to do better? Create and transparently share with your staff a scorecard of the key metrics that define safety and quality success in your healthcare organization.

Here is an example of what I mean by "scorecard" from emergency medicine. LWOB = the percentage of patients that presented to the ER but left without being seen.

Scorecards must follow the "10-foot rule."

From 10 feet away, anyone seeing the scorecard should be able to tell if the organization is better this month than it was last month. The size and simplicity of the scorecard must enable any hospital leader, physician, or staff member to—in an instant—know if they are “winning” at their improvement efforts.

After working with more than 200 health care organizations, I know that in the end, a simple scorecard makes the meaning of success tangible for the people in your organization. (For three more examples of scorecards that meet the 10-foot Rule, go here.

When the results of your effort are tangible, you do better.

I am completely convinced that using a simple scorecard will enable organizations to reach more patient safety and quality successes.

Bottom line? Measure it. Transparently share the measure. Follow the 10-foot rule. Do better.

Pretty simple, really.

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