Health System Key Performance Indicators
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The Nova Scotia government and the Health Authorities need to ensure accountability so existing health system resources are maximized. To monitor system performance, information is needed about where dollars are spent and why, so that variations in medical practice can be detected and resources used properly. The objective of the project is to develop key performance indicators for the Nova Scotia’s two Health Authorities. The Health Authorities report their financial position during the year to the Department of Health and Wellness, however; there lacks a consistent link from the financial forecasts reported to the operational performance of the Health Authorities. The project involves scanning for existing indictors that may be in use already, and identifying indicators for strategically important programs and initiatives. The learning experience for the author included an overview of the health system and understanding of the new roles of Department of Health and Wellness and the Health Authorities. There is an existing dashboard which is created at the department annually using Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) reported data from Health Authorities. There are reporting deliverables in place for some initiatives which Health Authorities report to the department. There is also Accreditation Canada practice testing and there are CIHI collected indicators. There are many performance mechanisms in place, but there is no centralized documentation of this monitoring. If regular, comprehensive and centralized reporting is established, Nova Scotia-specific data will be available to health system data users to analyze. Considerations for selection of key performance indicators include ease of calculation for the Health Authorities, easy to understand, and relevant to the users. The best solution is to evaluate existing indicators already being produced and isolate programming areas for which there are no indicators, if any exist. Implementation of the indicators should be coordinated centrally and communicated clearly.