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Measuring What Counts in HIS - Balanced Scorecards

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How the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi decided and implemented a balanced score card system

How the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi decided and implemented a balanced score card system


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  • 1. international journal of health planning and management Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/hpm.1004 Designing a balanced scorecard for a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: a modified Delphi group exercise Fauziah Rabbani1,2 *, Syed M. Wasim Jafri3y,z, Farhat Abbas 4x,ô, Mairaj Shah 5k,# , Syed Iqbal Azam1yy, Babar Tasneem Shaikh1yy, Mats Brommels6,7zz,xx,ôô and Goran Tomson2,7kk,## 1 Department of Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, IHCAR Div International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 3 Department of Medicine and Department of Continuing Professional Education , Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan 4 Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan 5 Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan 6 Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland 7 Medical Management Centre at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden SUMMARY Balanced Scorecards (BSC) are being implemented in high income health settings linking organizational strategies with performance data. At this private university hospital in Pakistan an elaborate information system exists. This study aimed to make best use of available data for better performance management. Applying the modified Delphi technique an expert panel of clinicians and hospital managers reduced a long list of indicators to a manageable size. Indicators from existing documents were evaluated for their importance, scientific soundness, appropriateness to hospital’s strategic plan, feasibility and modifiability. Panel members individually rated each indicator on a scale of 1–9 for the above criteria. Median scores were assigned. Of an initial set of 50 indicators, 20 were finally selected to be assigned to the four * Correspondence to: Dr F. Rabbani, Professor Dept of Community Health Sciences, PO BOX 3500, Stadium Road, Karachi, Pakistan and doctoral student Dept of Public Health Sciences IHCAR Div ¨ International Health, Nobels vag 9, Karolinska Institutet, SE 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mails: fauziah.rabbani@aku.edu; fauziahrabbani@yahoo.com y Professor of Medicine. z Associate Dean. x Professor in the Section of Urology. ô The COO (Chief Operating Officer—on site). k Manager Clinical Affairs. # CME. yy Assistant Professor. zz Professor of Health Services Management. xx Guest Professor. ôô Director. kk Professor. ## Director. Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • 2. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 75 BSC quadrants. These were financial (n ¼ 4), customer or patient (n ¼ 4), internal business or quality of care (n ¼ 7) and innovation/learning or employee perspectives (n ¼ 5). A need for stringent definitions, international benchmarking and standardized measurement methods was identified. BSC compels individual clinicians and managers to jointly work towards improving performance. This scorecard is now ready to be implemented by this hospital as a performance management tool for monitoring indicators, addressing measurement issues and enabling comparisons with hospitals in other settings Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. key words: balanced scorecard; performance management; indicators; modified Delphi; private hospital in Pakistan INTRODUCTION Hospital performance assessment is becoming increasingly important for different stakeholders such as health care providers, decision makers, and purchasers of health care. This is in response to growing demands to ensure transparency, control, and reduce variations in clinical practice (Groene et al., 2008). With hospitals consuming more than half of overall health care budget (McKee et al., 2002), recent hospital reforms are highlighting a quest for achieving more efficient and effective hospital care. This can be achieved through generalizable, standardized interpretable, and useable information for clinicians or health service managers (Willis et al., 2008). Hospital management teams receive voluminous information from a wide variety of sources. Despite the widespread use of performance indicators, there is little research evidence on how to select the essential data to make evidence-informed decision making (Ovretveit and Al Serouri, 2006). The worldwide health community, therefore, needs to focus on improving measurement of a small set of priority areas (Murray, 2007). Formal consensus methods are a set of techniques that synthesize expert or stake holder opinion to guide and prioritize group decisions in situations where information is lacking, contradictory or where there is an overload of information (Campbell et al., 2002). Three main methods have been used in the health field: the Delphi, the Nominal Group Technique and the Consensus Development Conference. The comparative advantage of the Delphi technique over other strategies is the enhanced opportunity for all participants to contribute greater number of ideas than other group processes, minimizing domination of the process by more confident or outspoken individuals, the ease of interpreting the results (ideas are generated, voted on/ranked, aggregated, and evaluated at the session itself), a greater sense of accomplishment for members (results are available immediately after the session), and minimal resource requirements with efficient use of time (Murphy et al., 1998). Conceptualization of hospital functioning is a diverse and complex phenomenon. WHO strategic orientations are encompassed into six interrelated dimensions: clinical effectiveness, safety, patient centeredness, responsive governance, staff orientation, and efficiency (Veillard et al., 2005). Though no performance management tool is ideal, this multidimensional approach of hospital performance is captured in the balanced scorecard (BSC), in four different perspectives with an equal weightage: (i) labeled learning and growth (staff orientation and satisfaction), (ii) internal processes (clinical outcomes and management of health services), Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 3. 76 F. RABBANI ET AL. (iii) customer (patient) satisfaction, and (iv) financial efficiency/performance (Castaneda-Mendez et al., 1998). BSC serves as a dashboard for meaningful decision making and quality improvement and relates results to external references while promoting internal comparisons overtime (Veillard et al., 2005). The advantage that BSC has over other performance measurement tools is that it is less of a diagnostic control system for highlighting abnormal activities and more of an interactive system for providing signals to the organization about management objectives, stimulating debate, improving quality, and achieving organizational learn- ing (Gordon and Geiger, 1999). Through its use various healthcare organizations in high income countries (HICs) improved in their recruitment and retention processes and employees gained a better understanding of organizational strategies leading to overall improvement in performance including reduction in costs, better clinical outcomes, increased staff, and patient satisfaction (Curtright et al., 2000; Kaplan and Norton, 2000; Hospital Report, 2003; Mannion et al., 2005). The implementation of management models is considered a step towards maturity and a change discourse aiming for an efficient and modern organization (Schalm, 2008). In the context of low income countries (LICs), however, we know little about successful models to promote greater management effectiveness at the hospital level (Hartwig et al., 2008). Evidence about BSC usage in LICs is deficient mainly due to lack of committed leadership, cultural readiness, quality information systems, viable strategic plans, and optimum resources (Rabbani et al., 2007). Simple dissemination of written guidelines in LICs is proving to be often ineffective (Rowe et al., 2005) and health managers face significant challenges in developing and managing appropriate systems (Green and Collins, 2003). Such faulty information systems result in a clear lack of knowledge regarding where to focus priorities; where improvement is needed and whether ongoing initiatives ˚ were having a positive impact (Murray, 2007; Malqvist et al., 2008). Although a partnership-mentoring model for enhancing management capacity in Ethiopian hospitals has been tested (Hartwig et al., 2008), to our knowledge BSC specifically has not been implemented in hospital settings in LICs. Recently BSC was applied at a national (macro) level to demonstrate how provinces and the country are doing in delivering the basic package of health services in Afghanistan (Peters et al., 2007). This innovative adaptation of the BSC in Afghanistan at a macro level has provided a useful tool to summarize the multidimensional nature of health services and enabled managers to benchmark performance and identify strengths and weaknesses in the Afghan context. There is heavy emphasis on curative services and hospitals consume 45% of the meager health budget in Pakistan (Abrejo et al., 2008). Despite this the quality of health care in public hospitals is dismal and 70% health care is being provided by private facilities (Ghaffar et al., 2000). We conducted this study at a private university hospital in Karachi Pakistan to assess the feasibility of the modified Delphi group technique to reach consensus about the indicators of an institutional level BSC, identify the strengths, and weaknesses of data being generated and recommend ways to improve hospital performance measurement. Copyright # 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 4. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 77 METHODS This study was conducted at a large private university hospital in Karachi (largest and most populous city of Pakistan) in 2006. The hospital offers quality care to outpatients and inpatients of all socio-economic classes (Rafique et al., 2006). It operates with 542 beds in operation and offers a broad range of secondary and tertiary services to over 38 000 hospitalized patients and to over 500 000 outpatients annually. Inpatients have an average length of stay of 3.9 days (AKUH Quality Manual, 2007: internal document). There are currently 400 trainees (interns, residents, and fellows) affiliated with the hospital. Clinical services offered by this university hospital (with staffing details) are listed in Table 1. According to the hospital’s strategic plan (Health Sciences Centre Committee, 2002; internal document), the vision is to provide (i) compassionate, accessible, and good quality care that meets or exceeds expectations (ii) provision of a work environment that fosters committed and motivated staff, and (iii) enabling leadership in research and education that improves national health. This hospital has an extensive health information system in place. An internal situation analysis, however, identified the need for better integration of information collected for evidence informed decision making (Health Sciences Centre Committee, 2002: internal document). This report recommended that academicians and administrators develop a road map together and foster a culture of team work, shared vision, and institutional ownership. BSC serves as a road map for self- assessment and continuous improvement towards excellence (Ruiz et al., 1999). Table 1. University hospital–clinical services Anesthesia Ã(28) Surgery (52) Cardiothoracic surgery Family medicine (12) Dental-oral and maxillofacial surgery General surgery Medicine (54) Neurosurgery Cardiology Ophthalmology Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism Orthopedic surgery Gastroenterology Otolaryngology General internal medicine Pediatric Surgery Hematology and Oncology Urology Neurology Pulmonary and Critical care medicine Ambulatory care services Emergency medicine Allied health services Obstetrics and Gynecology (15) Pharmacy Physiotherapy Pediatrics (23) Nutrition Pathology and Microbiology (33) Diagnostic services Cardiopulmonary Psychiatry (7) Clinical laboratories Neurophysiology Radiology (21) Ã Number in parenthesis represents total full time faculty. Non-faculty employees are not listed. Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 5. 78 F. RABBANI ET AL. Therefore, in 2006 a multidisciplinary team comprising of hospital leadership (including DG and CEO of the hospital, Medical Director, Chief Operating Officer) agreed that the hospital needs to produce a BSC incorporating clinical and non-clinical metrics for better clinical outcomes and performance management. In 2008 a new Vice President (VP) was appointed for health services with the past experience of working as an Executive Director at Guy’s and St. Thomas NHS Foundation Trust in London. The newly appointed VP was responsible for corporate and clinical governance, clinical operations and organization-wide performance measurement and manage- ment. Under the leadership of VP, BSC was envisaged as an organizational performance management pyramid (Figure 1) empowering all levels (from executive to operational) with varying metrics and details. It would serve to link the hospital’s strategic plan and individual department objectives. The frontline level was to look at details with a large set of indicators tracked on a monthly/quarterly basis and concerned with problem solving and improvements whereas the Board and executive management would be more aligned towards long-term global trends, summary reports generated biannually and concerned with overall strategy and governance. Following an assessment for cultural readiness to implement the BSC (Rabbani et al., 2008), a systematic development plan was used to design the BSC at this hospital. The cultural assessment showed that the required prerequisites for BSC implementation particularly conducive leadership, viable strategic plan, and a functional management information system already existed at this hospital. The steps used to design the BSC were in line with those outlined in earlier studies (Kaplan and Figure 1. Proposed approach to develop a balanced scorecard Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 6. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 79 Norton, 1996; Wachtel et al., 1999; Oliveira, 2001; Peters et al., 2007). These are; (i) building the business case at the executive leadership level of the hospital (Vice President hospital services, Chief Operating Officer and Medical Director of the hospital were involved in this study) (ii) identifying strategies and tactical objectives, (iii) identifying performance measurements, (iv) identifying data sources, (v), building consensus around the indicators to create the BSC based on the background material obtained from internal documents (vi) develop communication tools and targets for each measure based on benchmarking (vii) implementation, refinement, evaluation, and reusing the BSC. After working through initial steps this study focused on the creation of BSC for use at the Medical Directorate level (Figure 1). A subsequent study (in progress) will report on the adaptation and implementation of BSC at the frontline departmental level. It is anticipated that results of the latter would be available in 2010 after which the BSC would be cascaded upward to the CEO and Board level. In order to select indicators for BSC, a multistage modified Delphi consensus process developed by RAND (Marshall et al., 2006) was used. We used the modified Delphi technique so that face-to-face panel discussions with experts in the field could be conducted and face validity of indicators established. The face validity of the indicators was defined as whether its meaning and relevance to the assessment under consideration was self-evident and it superficially appeared to measure what it was supposed to measure (McBurney, 2001). A panel of nine experts was selected based on guidelines of the Delphi technique (Campbell et al., 2002). The group of experts was identified from a variety of professional disciplines and the required range of professional backgrounds. The panel represented hospital domains of marketing (managers who conduct quarterly patient satisfaction surveys), clinical quality assurance (clinicians, physician, and nurse managers who monitor quality care indicators), human resource management (staff and managers who conduct annual staff satisfaction surveys), and budget and planning (financial managers furnishing financial reports). As per recommendation of other studies (Chung et al., 2008) it was ensured that experts committed time and involvement until the process was complete. Ethical approval for the study was received from the Ethical Review Committee of the Pakistani hospital where this study was implemented. RESULTS Short listing of indicators by the expert panel Following an extensive review of existing internal documents (periodical quality assurance, patient and employee satisfaction surveys, and financial reports), a preliminary list of 50 indicators was formulated in line with hospital’s strategic plan. No indicators were removed from consideration at this phase of the activity. The next step was to prioritize key performance indicators based on the criteria of importance, scientific soundness (credibility), appropriateness to hospital’s strategic plan, feasibility (i.e., whether the measure was available easily as part of management information system, could be collected accurately, reliably and at a reasonable cost) and modifiability of the clinical outcome measures. Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 7. 80 F. RABBANI ET AL. The panel used the modified Delphi technique (over a period of 6 months) during face to face meetings to individually rate each indicator on a scale of 1–9 for the above criteria. All criteria were given equal weightage. If an indicator was thought not to be amenable to action it was dropped. Median scores and measures of disagreement for the whole panel and individual ratings were discussed, in subsequent meetings. Panel members were given an opportunity to change their ratings after the discussions. Indicators receiving final scores of 7–9 were regarded as robust, 4–6 as equivocal, and 1–3 as weak (Figure 2). All indicators receiving scores of 7 or more (face validity) were included in the final set. In addition, a small number of indicators which received scores of 4–6 were retained if the panelists considered the indicators essential to contribute to the overall balance and comprehensiveness of the final set. Twenty indicators (receiving a median score of 7 or more) were finally selected (Table 2) and organized by the expert panel into the four BSC quadrants: financial, customer (patient), internal business, and innovation/learning. Indicators for innovation and learning quadrant of the BSC The indicators for employee satisfaction (innovation/learning quadrant of BSC) were selected from the annual faculty and staff surveys and included (i) satisfaction with job; dimensions of training and skills, work load including double duties performed, maximum use of staff abilities, decision-making authority, and motivation to strive for excellence, (ii) collegial satisfaction (helping each other in times of need, respect from the colleagues, discussion with colleagues to mutually resolve issues), (iii) satisfaction with supervisor; dimensions of friendly working relationship, regular feedback, satisfaction with appraisal system, recognition for doing a good job, openness to suggestions, and good ideas, (iv) satisfaction with organization; annual faculty and staff turnover, fair treatment without gender and religious discrimination, opportunities for growth and improvement, proud to work, viewing organization as a Figure 2. Short listing indicators for BSC using a modified Delphi process Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 8. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 81 Table 2. Shortlisted set of indicators for the BSC using the modified Delphi technique Indicators Financial perspective (FP) Median Mean Std. deviation Average charges (inpatient) 8.00 8.22 0.44 Length of stay (inpatient) 7.00 6.89 0.78 Daily census (inpatient) 8.00 8.11 0.60 Net operating margin 9.00 8.67 0.50 Overall FP Median 8.00 Internal business perspective (IBP): clinical outcomes (efficiency and quality) Laboratory report turnaround time 8.00 7.89 0.60 Radiology film rejection rate 8.00 8.33 0.50 Unplanned stay after day care procedure 7.00 6.78 1.20 Incidence of blood transfusion reaction 7.00 7.22 1.09 Nosocomial infection 8.00 8.00 0.71 Cross match to transfusion ratio 7.00 7.33 0.87 Needle stick injuries 8.00 7.89 1.17 Overall IBP Median 8.00 Human resource perspective (HRP) Satisfaction with job 7.00 7.33 0.71 Satisfaction with colleagues 8.00 7.78 0.83 Satisfaction with on campus facilities 8.00 7.44 0.73 Satisfaction with organization 7.00 6.89 0.93 Satisfaction with supervisors 7.00 7.00 1.12 Overall HRP Median 7.00 Patient satisfaction perspective (PSP) Satisfaction with physicians 7.00 7.11 0.78 Patient Complaints (inpatient) 8.00 7.56 0.88 Satisfaction with nursing services 7.00 7.33 0.87 Proportion of patients recommending 8.00 7.89 0.60 this hospital to their families and friends Overall PSP Median 7.50 long-term career choice, balance between work and personal life, and (v) satisfaction with various on- campus staff facilities (sports and gymnasium, utility shops, child day care center, cash withdrawal facilities, payment of utility bills etc.). Some of the indicators reviewed were not finally selected as they were considered to be more specific to the Human Resources Department (HRD) and not directly influencing clinical service provision at the hospital. These included (i) the performance of HRD obtained through staff surveys (e.g., assistance provided to new employees, managing employee discipline cases, promptness in responding to queries etc.), (ii) indicators for employee safety and emergency preparedness obtained through Safety and Security Department reports (e.g., fire emergency response time, number of injuries per 100 full-time employees) and (iii) indicators of workforce management such as staff absenteeism (doctors and nurses), number and type of employee illnesses. Indicators for internal business quadrant of the BSC Indicators for this quadrant were shortlisted from a larger list of quality care indicators which the hospital (medical directorate) is monitoring through various Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 9. 82 F. RABBANI ET AL. quality assurance teams for ongoing accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations USA (JCAHO). The selected indicators included three indicators of efficiency; laboratory report turnaround time (number of samples reported within acceptable time limit per total number of samples analyzed), radiology film rejection rate (number of rejected films out of total number used and indicates film wastage rate with implications for appropriate training of radiology staff in patient positioning and exposure techniques) and cross match to transfusion ratio (proxy for indicating the actual need for carrying out blood transfusions). There were two indicators of quality of care and efficiency; unplanned stay after day care procedure (number of unplanned overstay following day care surgery out of patients undergoing day care surgery) and incidence of blood transfusion reactions (number of blood transfusion associated reactions out of total units of blood transfused). Needle stick injuries were selected as an indicator of staff compliance with safety techniques and quality procedures and is also an indicator of employee safety. Rate of nosocomial infections (central line associated blood stream infections in intensive care units in relation to device days (following CDC guidelines of National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance) was selected as the indicator of infection control. The Health Management Information System provided information on mortality related to anesthesia (using American Society of Anaesthesia guidelines), however, desirable information on adjusted case fatality rate for tracer conditions was not available. Similarly peri-operative mortality (in elective procedures) and returns to operation theatre during the same episode were considered as indicators of operative safety however due to residual confounding effects (age, severity of illness etc.), these were not finally selected. Hospital acquired pressure ulcers, adverse event reporting, patient fall rates, unplanned descents to the floor /1000 patient days were initially selected as indicators of nursing quality but the panelists were of the opinion that in- depth discussion was required with Division of Nursing Services and individual clinical units should consider these while developing their customized scorecards. Indicators for customer (patient) satisfaction quadrant of the BSC Quarterly patient satisfaction surveys by the hospital’s Marketing department and quality reports from the Department of Clinical Affairs were used to select four indicators of patient satisfaction The patient satisfaction survey captures, analyzes and monitors patient satisfaction with outpatient, inpatient, diagnostic and emergency services. For the purpose of this study only inpatient service indicators were discussed. These indicators are; (i) satisfaction with nursing services (dimensions: provision of adequate information on health condition/medicines/ follow up care, courtesy, listening, prompt response to call bell, respect for privacy, skilful insertion of cannulas/ IV lines, proper dressing, provision of special help when needed) (ii) satisfaction with physicians (dimensions: daily visit of consultant, proper explanation and information given and respect for privacy) (iii) recommending this service to family and friends (a proxy indicator for a satisfied client), and (iv) percentage of patient complaints (dimensions: care, delays, environment, attitude, availability of health staff, communication, billing system, quality of food, cleanliness of washrooms, level of noise, scheduled tests and investigation procedures on time etc.). Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 10. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 83 It is important to mention that the Department of Clinical Affairs and the Hospital’s Risk Management Forum are already taking specific actions against those patient complaints classified as ‘sensitive’ (resulting in potential defamation, litigation, or compensation) and hence the latter was excluded from our list of generic BSC indicators. Moreover ‘overall patient satisfaction’ was a composite indicator shortlisted but not finally selected. The patients included in the sample are requested to respond to the question’ were you overall satisfied with the quality of the service you received? in terms of strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree. Responses obtained on a likert scale are converted to mean values and reported as a percentage. Those who respond to this question with strongly agree and agree are classified as overall satisfied patient. Sample size calculations for this indicator needed statistical refinement and the panel could not rule out the element of recall bias in these telephonically conducted interviews. Rates of medication error (including prescribing, administration, and dispensing) and rationale use of antibiotics were considered as indicators of patient safety, however, since there were already specific quality control committees monitoring these on a quarterly basis they were dropped as key indicators for the institutional level BSC. Indicators for financial quadrant of the BSC Four indicators were finally selected (i) average charges per inpatients (total inpatient revenue earned against total number of patients admitted over a period) is a measure of the accessibility of patients to hospital and also the cost-effectiveness of services provided. It is computed by comparing the increase in average charges per inpatient with the average price increase and the inflation rate, (ii) inpatient length of stay (indicator of efficiency), (iii) average daily census (average number of patients occupying bed per day), and (iv) net operating margin (margin on gross revenues before interest and depreciation: indicator of cost and productivity) were some indicators routinely generated by the department of Budget and Planning and later shortlisted for the financial quadrant of the BSC. FTE per adjusted occupied bed (an indicator of patient staff ratios and efficiency monitored for JCAHO), % capex expenditure versus planned (highlights the total capital budget consumed against the annual budget), percentage of referrals from CHC; the low cost outpatient clinic (another indicator of financial accessibility of this hospital for all socioeconomic groups) were selected in the initial list of 50 indicators but were dropped later due to lack of available national and regional benchmarking and because some of this information was not considered relevant for general public disclosure. DISCUSSION To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time that experts (managers, academicians, and clinicians) were together involved in a scientific process (the modified Delphi group technique) to develop a BSC for a hospital in a LIC setting. Integrating the activities Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 11. 84 F. RABBANI ET AL. of different departments is a difficult task for the management of the organization (Axelsson and Axelsson, 2006). Designing the BSC was possible in our study because most of the necessary prerequisites for successful BSC implementation in LICs (committed leadership, viable strategic plans and information systems etc.) were already in place and cultural readiness for BSC usage had previously been assessed (Rabbani et al., 2007; Rabbani et al., 2008). The modified Delphi method successfully incorporated views from health personnel and specialists in the development of a BSC. The same has been reported from Canadian hospitals (Robinson et al., 2003). Another study of nine health provider organizations in USA emphasized the importance of using a lot of teaching, discussion and consensus building to ensure a successful BSC implementation (Inamdar et al., 2002). Moreover consensus techniques such as modified Delphi have been utilized in Thailand to develop trauma care indicators (Suwaratchai et al., 2008). The recent use of formal consensus methods in Pakistan’s neighboring Muslim country Iran to identify outcome-based indicators for rational drug prescribing and effective academic leadership in order to increase the validity of the findings is also encouraging (Bikmoradi et al., 2008; Esmaily et al., 2008). It is noteworthy that the criteria (importance, scientific soundness, feasibility etc.) used by other studies ¨ ¨¨ ¨ (Idanpaan-Heikkila, 2006; Marshall et al., 2006; McLoughlin et al., 2006) to short list indicators also worked well in our setting. Interestingly the composition of the multidisciplinary panel in our study was found to be quite similar to other studies on development of a BSC for hospitals in HICs. In an Australian study, experts in the Delphi panel included both hospital managers and clinical practitioners (Xiao et al., 1997). In Taiwan (Huang et al., 2004) the team that worked to develop the BSC included president, Vice President and all department directors of the study hospital. In another recent study on implementation of BSC in a community hospital at USA besides others the panel of experts consisted of directors from patient care services and quality management (Lorden et al., 2008). It is envisaged that this involvement of staff at different levels within an organization during the development of BSC will enhance the acceptance of the scorecard when it is implemented. The Balanced Scorecard provided an opportunity to capture indicators in four aspects of hospital performance. This demonstrates that data which are routinely collected by the hospital can be used to develop an integrated core of multidisciplinary indicators. This institutional level BSC has been designed for use at the level of medical directorate. Subsequent studies can contextualize and customize BSC by each of the implementing frontline clinical units so that specialty– specific BSCs can be developed. Other studies have also used existing documents in a ¨ ¨¨ similar fashion to create effective BSC (Wachtel et al., 1999; Idanpaan-Heikkila, ¨ 2006; Marshall et al., 2006; McLoughlin et al., 2006). In a recently concluded study BSC was used to track certain nursing indicators in acute care Ontario hospitals using secondary data (Hall et al., 2008). There was relatively a high level of agreement about the usefulness of the 20 indicators which were finally selected in our study. These indicators were distributed across all 4 quadrants of BSC: financial perspective (n ¼ 4), internal business (n ¼ 7), human resource perspective (n ¼ 5) and patient satisfaction perspective (n ¼ 4). The Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 12. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 85 indicators are similar to the ones shortlisted in both high (Baker and Pink, 1995) and low income (Hansen et al., 2008) health settings. In the former study revenue generated, patient volumes, patient and employee satisfaction, nosocomial infections, average length of stay, and routine laboratory test turnaround time were included among the 23 indicators shortlisted for the BSC developed for Canadian hospitals. In the latter study in Afghanistan domains of patient and community, staff, capacity for service, service provision, financial system, and overall vision were used to monitor 29 indicators at provincial level. The latter are quite similar to the ones selected in our setting. In another recent Canadian study following initial steps of building executive commitment and strategic alignment, 23 indicators were shortlisted which could be compared across various care centers using the same BSC dimensions (Schalm, 2008). The results from this investigation also reflect limitations of routinely collected data. The Delphi process highlighted that certain indicators selected for BSC (Table 3) had relatively lower face validity as assessed by their median ratings. This was mainly due to lack of standardized definitions and measurement techniques, reliable instruments, adequate sample sizes and response rates etc. Other studies (Baker and Pink, 1995; Zeitlin et al., 2003) have also noted that methodological shortcomings of many indicators have generated skepticism about the data sources, consistency of reporting, derivation of the numbers, and their usefulness in offering analogous estimates. It is to be noted that Pakistan does not have a national hospital database. Comparable national/regional targets, benchmarking and a balance between process and outcome indicators was recommended. It was also noted that for subsequent designing of BSC for front line clinical departments disaggregation of information by each clinical specialty would be needed. It is possible that despite efforts to capture all relevant indicators through publicly available surveys and documents, certain valuable indicators may have been overlooked. Some of the shortlisted indicators in the western studies included allocative efficiency, vertical equity, survival rates and age, sex and disease specific mortality, and morbidity ratios (Wachtel et al., 1999; Robinson et al., 2003; ten Asbroek et al., 2004; Schalm, 2008). The BSC developed in our setting did not have some of the more analytical indicators listed above. Such lack of in-depth outcome data has been listed as a BSC implementation barrier elsewhere (Schalm, 2008). It is important to mention that to date at this hospital only diagnostic services (laboratory, radiology) and pharmacy (data on medications prescribed and dispensed) are fully computerized. Although each patient visiting this hospital has a unique medical record number and information related to patient characteristics (age, gender, diagnosis, length of stay, and clinical intervention performed) is computerized, however, presenting complaints, co-morbid conditions, and discharge summaries are still available only on paper files. Similar issues of patient data records have been reported from Ethiopian hospitals (Hartwig et al., 2008). Moreover it has been shown in Iran that hospitals are collecting a lot of financial and clinical information in a fairly computerized but not in a well-organized format (Ghaffari et al., 2008). A need for an electronic patient record system (an e–health initiative) was, therefore, emphasized to overcome some of these methodological barriers and come up with more robust indicators in our setting. Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
  • 13. Table 3. Measurement issues highlighted during the Delphi process 86 Name of indicator Source of data Issues Financial perspective Length of stay (inpatient) Monthly reports of department Cannot stratify by severity of illness, number of complications of budget and planning and co-morbidities This indicator can be influenced by factors beyond the hospital environment (e.g., absence of nursing homes and home care facilities post discharge) Length of stay can also increase because of management delays (scheduling of investigation procedures, timing of consultant ward rounds, weekend admissions etc.) Internal business (efficiency and quality) Unplanned stay after day Quarterly quality improvement Cannot differentiate between surgical complications and care procedure reports management delays (e.g., delay in availability of operation Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. theatre and low staffing levels) Cannot comment on which procedure causes maximum delay Incidence of blood transfusion Quarterly quality improvement Need to set a target based on international comparison reaction reports Cross match to transfusion ratio Only trend being monitored currently F. RABBANI ET AL. Human resource perspective Satisfaction with job Annual employee satisfaction Low response rate to the survey survey Not disaggregated by department or designation Only quantitative information collected on a sliding scale Satisfaction with organization Data collection instrument not validated, questions likely to evoke a positive response Satisfaction with supervisors No international/regional comparisons or targets Patient satisfaction perspective Satisfaction with physicians Quarterly patient satisfaction Does not convey underlying information about satisfaction with surveys physician and nursing services by each clinical department and therefore delays action Satisfaction with nursing services DOI: 10.1002/hpm Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. Measurement issues related to 9/20 indicators of the BSC are highlighted. These indicators received a relatively lower rating (median ¼ 7).
  • 14. DESIGNING BSC USING MODIFIED DELPHI 87 Despite these practical limitations, the Delphi group process led to a pragmatic interpretation of existing data resulting in the design of a scorecard with comprehensive indicators in multiple dimensions. It has been reported that for hospital managers and those developing health policies, studies such as this provide insight into the factors influencing hospital performance (Xiao et al., 1997). The 20 indicators which emerged from our study using the modified Delphi process have highlighted the methodological challenges faced during the design of BSC. As a next step this scorecard will now be customized for individual clinical departments of this hospital and later implemented at the executive and board level. The BSC would facilitate rational organization and management of data collection systems and serve as an evaluation framework for monitoring improvement of clinical outcomes and quality. A greater cohesion within the hospital units is expected simultaneously. Lessons learnt will have important bearing for hospital performance measurement initiatives in other settings. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors thank the senior Aga Khan University (AKU) and hospital (AKUH) leadership—President Firoz Rasul, Vice President Health Services Dallas Ariotti, Dean of the Medical college AKU, Mohammad Khurshid, Director General and CEO AKUH Nadeem Khan, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies AKU, El-Nasir Lalani, Director Hiuman Resources AKU, Navroz Surani, and chair Dept of Community Health Sciences (CHS) Dr Gregory Pappas—for encouraging us to proceed with the work related to Balanced Scorecard (BSC) at AKU. This study is a component of BSC studies underway. We thank Dr Naushaba Mobeen, Senior Instructor Community Health Sciences and Dr Wasif Shahzad Manager Dept of Medicine for assisting in initial meetings. We also express our gratitude to Mr Zafar Tahir (CHS), Aslam Fareed and Muhammad Feisal (Marketing Department AKUH), Ms Salma Jaffer (Manager JCIA Coordination AKUH), Ms Shamim Nayani (Senior Manager Employee Relations, Rehman Hirani, and Khurram Jamal (Dept of Budget and Planning AKU). Ms Saira Nigar (CHS) assisted us in data analysis and Ms Shafaq Ambreen, administrative officer (CHS) rendered untiring secretarial assist- ance. We thank Bo Badr Saleem Lindblad, Professor Emeritus of International Child Health, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of International Health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institutet Medical University, Stockholm, Sweden, and visit- ing professor, AKU, Karachi, Pakistan, for his overall support. Thanks also go to Mr Thomas Mellin at IHCAR, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Sweden for connecting the first author to various information technology resources during her visits to KI. The authors acknowledge our various grant sources: Swedish South Asian Network (SASNET: grant ID; EPG05S:06), WHO EMRO (project ID #: RPC 04/60) and Swedish Institute (Si: Id # 05655/2005). The major support for this study came from AKU University Research Council (URC, project ID 052013 CHS). Copyright # 2010 John Wiley Sons, Ltd. Int J Health Plann Mgmt 2010; 25: 74–90. DOI: 10.1002/hpm
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