Performance Scorecard in Healthcare: Its Importance

A performance scorecard is a tool that’s used a lot in the healthcare industry. Before going into a deep dive discussion on the use and importance of Performance Scorecard in Healthcare it’s wise to first understand what a performance scorecard is.

A performance scorecard is a graphical representation of the progress over time of an entity or organization, such as an enterprise, an employee or a business unit, toward the achievement of a specified goal or goals. Performance scorecards are widely used in many industries throughout both the public and private sectors one of them being the healthcare industry.

Performance Scorecards in Healthcare is critical for outcomes improvement, but knowing what they do, when to use them, how to use them, and who should use them is just as important. Scorecards are typically organized by clinical program or specialty and measure performance against these goals using simple visualizations. They provide a high-level, one-page overview of a health system’s long-term, strategic outcomes improvement goals. Scorecards are web accessible, mobile-friendly (e.g., tablet, smartphone), and ever-present because they aren’t pushed or pulled reports.

Key Performance Indexes (KPIs) and Dashboards

Key Performance Indexes (KPI) are the metrics in a performance scorecard used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization. Different organizations depending on the type, size, and industry have different key performance indexes. For example, in manufacturing the various KPIs could be; the number of units produced, the number items that fail quality control, the amount of byproduct generated, inventory levels, raw materials inventory levels, and the current price of raw materials.

KPIs are presented in a way that at a glance, an individual can determine whether things are good for each particular KPI without having to see the exact number or translate a number into an indicator of overall health.


Unlike their long-term, strategic scorecard counterparts, dashboards provide real-time or near real-time operational information encompassing tactical scenarios. Scorecards tell health systems how they’re doing overall; dashboards tell systems what’s happening now using interactive metrics with drill-down capabilities.

Dashboard visualizations are more in-depth, making them great tools for tracking AIMs that support system-wide outcomes improvement goals. They create connections directly to live systems and EDW data to enable comparisons of current and historical healthcare data and allow for daily, constant monitoring of items affecting AIMs (e.g., view today’s readmissions, view triage wait times, and view current OR turnaround time).

Performance Scorecards and Quality Improvements

In defining Quality Improvements, it’s pretty clear that the framework all quality improvements in healthcare contains the Improvement of the health of populations, the reduction of the per capita cost of healthcare and the improvement of the patient experience. Quality improvement can’t happen without constant measurement and evaluation and this is where performance scorecards come in. Although it is possible to implement the quality improvement cycle once, single cycle improvement isn’t quality improvement in the purest sense; it eliminates the critical “study” step in the “plan, do, study, and act” sequence; the evaluative step that’s so critical for successful quality improvements. This evaluative step is greatly improved and efficient if performance scorecards are available to aid the process.

Continuous quality improvement is about sustaining and hardwiring the right behaviors. For example, if a health system reduces its heart failure readmission rate, it shouldn’t just check that item off the “to do list” and move on to something else within its cardiovascular program. It still needs to dedicate valuable resources to the readmissions initiative to ensure outcomes are sustained; to make sure the interventions continue to be effective. The performance scorecards help in making sure the outcomes are sustained and measuring any changes that might occur.

So in conclusion, performance scorecards in healthcare are crucial and play a great role in the advancement of healthcare delivery and in the smooth running of a healthcare organization.