Improving system performance

‘Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted’ - (Albert Einstein)

On a page focussed on improving system performance, it may seem strange to begin with a quote that cautions against the over-reliance on numbers. However, if measurement is a means of representing the properties of things or people by numbers, then it is important to remember that the numbers are only one part of the performance story and that they exist within a far messier and more complex organisational context.

‘Blueprint II’ (MHC, 2012) has adopted the ‘New Zealand Triple Aim’ as the overarching approach to guide improvement of health services. One of the three aims is to ‘generate best value from the public health system’. The development of key performance indicator (KPI) frameworks for use in health settings has provided a mechanism to help service providers lift system performance.

National indicators and associated targets are being used to help drive service improvements at an organisational and system level (refer to Northern DHB Support Agency (NDSA) KPI Framework for New Zealand Mental Health and Addiction Services).

In response to the New Zealand government's emphasis on results (State Services Commission, 2012), organisations are increasingly involved in developing their own logic models or strategic outcome frameworks and then applying performance indicators and evaluative information at key points in these frameworks to help them measure and monitor their own progress against their key strategic goals over a period of time.

Lattice Consulting is involved in a range of activities that are all designed to lift system performance.
These include:

  • developing logic models
  • developing strategic outcome frameworks
  • developing and /or identifying information to help providers evaluate and monitor their own progress (e.g. key performance indicators used in conjunction with other qualitative information such as feedback from service user surveys)
  • facilitating benchmarking workshops and
  • advising on the role and value of various continuous improvement tools and approaches.