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For boards to review organizational performance in quality of care and patient safety they need relevant measures of current performance and ongoing updates on those measures that identify whether the organizations are achieving targeted improvements.

Big Dots and Small Dots

  •  Hundert and Topp (2003) stress that “the board as a whole should routinely monitor results for a small number of critical corporate indicators” and ensure that management and the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) are monitoring quality results in a more detailed fashion.
  • Boards can aim sights high when measuring quality, and rather than focusing on small project level advancements, or the “small dots”, boards should be concerned with system level measures, i.e. the “big dots”.

Dashboards for the Board

  • It is effective to provide boards with a ‘snapshot’ of important measures associated with strategic areas, rather than providing every measure being collected at the organization.
  • Dashboards should be clear, easy to read and have data that can be refreshed on a regular basis. Dashboard measures are aligned with the overall organizational strategic plan and goals.
  • Boards should monitor results for a small number of critical indicators of clinical performance, as they do in reviewing financial performance.

Linking Data to Broader Organizational Strategy

  • Performance measures should be easily interpreted by lay members of a healthcare board, and need to be timely assessment of current performance in targeted areas.
  •  Indicators and information can be linked to the broader strategic plan for the organization, and outline information needs. Capital Health in Nova Scotia developed an Information Management strategic plan which outlined the guiding principles of information management, key stakeholders and information management strategies.