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Healthc Policy. 2006 Jul;2(1):56-78.

Performance measurement in healthcare: part II--state of the science findings by stage of the performance measurement process.

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  • 1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.



This paper summarizes findings of a comprehensive, systematic review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature on performance measurement according to each stage of the performance measurement process--conceptualization, selection and development, data collection, and reporting and use. It also outlines implications for practice.


Six hundred sixty-four articles about organizational performance measurement from the health and business literature were reviewed after systematic searches of the literature, multi-rater relevancy ratings, citation checks and expert author nominations. Key themes were extracted and summarized from the most highly rated papers for each performance measurement stage.


Despite a virtually universal consensus on the potential benefits of performance measurement, little evidence currently exists to guide practice in healthcare. Issues in conceptualizing systems include strategic alignment and scope. There are debates on the criteria for selecting measures and on the types and quality of measures. Implementation of data collection and analysis systems is complex and costly, and challenges persist in reporting results, preventing unintended effects and putting findings for improvement into action.


There is a need for further development and refinement of performance measures and measurement systems, with a particular focus on strategies to ensure that performance measurement leads to healthcare improvement.

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