Humboldt General Hospital is making a concerted effort to align its healthcare vision with the organization's day-to-day practices.
The facility, located at 118 E. Haskell Street in Winnemucca, recently implemented a strategic planning and management system entitled the "balanced scorecard."
Humboldt General Hospital Quality/Risk Management Director Andy Hum, who is spearheading the effort, said the balanced scorecard is a systematic and methodical way of turning goals into reality.
"Every organization has a "perfect world" scenario," said Hum. "In a perfect world, we would be this kind of organization, or in a perfect world, we would do things this way."
Hum continued, "Well, the balanced scorecard is a proven way to begin aligning those goals with reality. With this system, we inch closer each day to the kind of healthcare system we dream of becoming."
Hum said the system not only aligns business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, but it also improves internal and external communications, and monitors organization performance against strategic goals.
The balanced scorecard was originated by Robert Kaplan and David Norton of Harvard University in about 1990, and was detailed in a series of Harvard Business Review articles and subsequent books.
The roots of the balanced scorecard are deep, however, and include the pioneering work of General Electric on performance measurement reporting in the 1950s and the work of French process engineers (who created the Tableau de Bord-literally an instrument panel or dashboard of performance measures) in the early part of the 20th century in France.
Hum explained that because the balanced scorecard is a generic term, it means different things to different people, and in practice, there are wide variations in both understanding and implementation.
To some, the balanced scorecard is a simple dashboard of performance measures, while to others it is a comprehensive planning and management system covering the whole organization and designed to focus efforts on organization strategy and, more importantly, on performance and results.
For Humboldt General Hospital, he said it is a system of measures that allows participating departments to compete against themselves.
Hum said the hospital, in concert with area physicians, identified areas of most concern in terms of quality as well as those things that might affect the public the most.
Those measurement areas include quality, patient experience, finance, billing, facility and clinical operations, electronic health record and special interest/focus. In all, there are 36 measurements that the hospital has benchmarked.
"We are constantly looking for best practices, for ways to hit a higher benchmark," said Hum, "and this allows those departments to understand what their target is and then check themselves on a monthly basis."
The results from the hospital's departments are tabulated into an overall monthly snapshot at how the organization is improving. Those results are then measured against similar-size and type hospitals across the nation.
"It allows us to compare apples to apples," said Hum.
Humboldt General Hospital has been participating in the balanced scorecard for less than a year and Hum believes it is making a difference.
One reason why is because he and others are committed to the idea of using the system over the long-term.
"We're not looking at this as the latest fad," said Hum. "We believe this system has the potential to help transform our organization into one of the best rural healthcare systems in the country."
He added, "We are committed to doing what we can to make that happen."
For more information on Humboldt General Hospital's "Balanced Scorecard," please contact Quality/Risk Management Director Andy Hum at (775) 623-5222, ext. 280.