Key Performance Indicators: Implementation and Characteristics

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Key Performance Indicators, abbreviated as KPI, are indicators that are used in an organization to define and Measure Company’s progress and how all operations are being carried out towards achievement of the already set goals by the organization. This comes in after an organization has laid down a well stated Mission and Vision. After that, goals are set whereby all the stakeholders in the organizational operations are involved. This is then followed by an analysis to see if these indicators are workable. This plays a big role in ensuring that the necessary procedures are undertaken during the starting of the goals (14). After this has been done, there is the need to look for effective ways through which the organization will measure its progress towards attaining its mission and stated goals. Therefore, these tools which help the particular organization measure its actions and progress towards realization of its goals is what we refer to as Key Performance Indicators. These are hence measurement tools applied by a company or an organization in monitoring the processes and operations of the business (7).

Characteristics of Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators must always be a quantifiable sort of measurement. This is important because they should be agreed at first by all the stakeholders before their implementation is done. In that case, the KPIs will be useful in giving a reflection of the projected and critical factors that may hinder the performance of the organization towards attaining its goals (5). Because of this fact, these KPIs will always differ from one organization to the other depending on its nature and the kind of operations the organization is involved in (1). In case of a profit-oriented organization, the company may decide to apply at least one of the very many available Key Performance Indicators by determining the overall percentage of the company’s income from the customer returns. On the other hand, a school or any other learning institution may decide to focus much on the Key Performance Indicators that relate to the graduation ratios of the institution’s students (14). This will be very different for a Department dealing with Customer Service. Such a department may decide to have its KPI in line with the Company’s overall KPIs such as calls percentage answered in the last or first minute from the customers (7). With an organization rendering social services, it can have its Key Performance Indicator in looking at the number of the people or clients who have been assisted in a particular time period, like a year (1).

It should be necessary for every organization to ensure that its KPIs are well selected and are significant in helping the organization or firm achieve its goals. This means that the KPIs must be quantifiable and easy to analyse since they are key to the success of the organization (15). Another important thing concerning the KPIs is that the KPIs should be nicely designed in a way that they are long-term upon their implementation (11). It is also important for the managers of a given organization to understand that the KPIs definitions and the way they are measured is something that does not change whatsoever. The expectations or the final goals expected from a given KPI may change especially when the goals of that particular organization have changed (1).

Another important thing is that the KPIs should always be reflecting the goals of the particular organization. This is quite important because the goals of the organization are what define the KPIs going to be laid down. The goals of each particular organization should therefore be clearly stated and attainable so that the KPIs may not be misled by stating unachievable goals (8). In that case the goals should be aimed at giving the organization more benefits and profits in case of profit-making organizations. Another issue is that the KPI should be stated in terms of its value and be defined in a way such that it can be easily measured. It is again very important for an organization to define its KPIs and make sure all operations are in line with the KPI definition throughout the business year (14). For instance, if a KPI is ‘Increase Product Sales’, then the organization will be required to address all the major considerations such as whether to have sales measured in the sold units, or by the value of the dollar, or by profits (5). In order to bring the use of KPIs into a better understanding, we will look at their application in such health care institutions and see how they have improved the economics of the institution and the management of its human resources (15).

Health Care Organizations

Today, tertiary institutions and Health Care organizations are usually well established in such a way that they can deal with Health and Nursing issues. A number of health care centers are not to begin from a very noble beginning and then necessary strategies are laid down, and this sees the organization perform better as days goes by. Like in the United States, we have quite a number of such institutional organizations that play a big role in ensuring that all practices in health issues are done competently (12). The main reason why we have an increasing number of such organizations is because the population has been growing and at the same time we have been having a number of people becoming informed (2). In that case they have seen education to be necessary and the reason more youths are going for higher learning activities (9). Students at this different institutions offering health care services or education are usually awarded with degrees in the fields of Emergency Medicine and Nursing (2). Such health centers are hence significant in giving all the services the people need (7). Another outstanding thing about such health care institutions is that they may sometimes offer financial help to those students who are qualified but needy. This involves awards that are in form of loans, scholarships or federal grants. The centers also have been offering a varied number of career services to different people around the globe. These support services include practical training which is done in the affiliate hospital as well as job opportunities for the needy students (7).

Statement of Mission and Vision for Health-Care Centers

A number of health care centers are known to proclaim themselves as highly specialized institutions for both higher learning and also health services. Such institutes also tend to be highly committed in giving good services to all kinds of people, both women and men, for their career development in the fields of Nursing and Health. This usually targets those people who live near such organizations. We also have a number of private institutions as well as public health centers which tend to provide good services to the people (2). In that case, it would be necessary that all such organizations should come up with well stated missions that would ensure that the goals of the institution can be achieved. Also, these institutions should also come up with a good vision which is easy to achieve. This will work right in ensuring that the relevant goals are met, and within the stipulated time.

The Goals Set by Health-Care institutions

Before coming up with any workable KPI, we should realise that it is necessary to have strong and achievable goals in any learning or health-care institution. There are a number of goals that are used by such organizations in the expression of its interests and expectations. One of the major goals here is to emphasize on the Christian values and orientation towards human life (10). Another goal is to create an environment that is caring and ready to allow each and every individual become emotionally and physically satisfied and by so doing be able to achieve his/her maximum potential.

The other important goal for Health-care institutions is to promote everyone’s health conditions and excellence. There is also the need to embrace excellence when practicing nursing activities in the organization (10). Other important goals that have been applied by a number of institutions include: to serve the entire community with a thanksgiving heart and to see all the people looking for services from such organizations get good values and morals that embody the traditions and culture of the institution. The other thing is to foster an element of responsibility and mutual commitment in each and every person in the organization (7). All these goals are important in ensuring that human resource management is achieved and also improving the clinical economics of the institutions. In order to achieve the above goals, it would be necessary that all such institutions are ready to adopt and implement necessary Key Performance Indicators in their Strategic Plan (10).

Strategic Direction and Initiatives

In order to achieve the above goals, it was necessary to implement KPIs in the organization’s strategic plan always. The institutions are also supposed to provide effective services and programs aimed in optimizing the success of every individual who relies from services from the center, and also address all the problems faced by each and every person in the organization (4). In terms of services and performance, the institution should target to provide a very classic environment for all operations. With knowledge, such health care organizations should be ready to provide exemplary features for future management activities in the organization (5). In terms of Personnel, the organizations should always focus on the improvement of its professional operations and workplace integrity (5).

The importance of having a viable strategic plan is because it addresses the environmental issues concerning the institution’s operations, integrity and public relations. The institution should also be concerned with the operations in the human resource as well as the challenges outside the institution such as issues to do with marketing, competition and public relations (3). The other thing in the strategic plan is about Partnerships. Such health centers should develop and retain mutual and beneficial interrelationships with the entire community (10). Community is used here to refer to all other institutions related with health-service, learning institutions, health-care businesses, and the entire public (10).

Organizations’ Strategic Objectives

There are a number of initiatives that should be undertaken by such health care organizations and centers. Such organizations should come up with well laid down plans in the provision of good services to all the people concerned. Such objectives would be necessary for in optimizing the chances of success and by so doing address all the needs that need to be solved (8). There is also the need of improving and retaining the working standards in the organization. This is to be realized through the provision of ample environment that will facilitate necessary conditions for all the operations in the center. There should also be plans of setting an office whereby all the problems faced in the entire institution may be reported. That way the organization will be headed in the right direction (3).

Implementing Key Performance Indicators

There are a number of major Performance Indicators that can be applied in any organization involved in giving health care services. Such indicators are necessary because they help predict the missions that should be laid down and also ensure that all the already stated goals can be realized. Some of these indicators include: Expand leadership in all departments regarding each and every project that is to be done in the organization, Implement and develop Assessment plan that will engage all the people in the organization, Audit of assessment to give way to the efficacy in the institution operations, health-care systems and all nursing goals (10). Another goal is to extend the nursing “Plan for Success” strategy to an institution-wide initiative that promotes everyone’s responsibility for the success of the institution (15). It will hence be noted that a number of institutions are implementing an inexhaustible list of KPIs all aimed in increasing the organizations’ chances of achieving their goals within the stipulated time.

Implementation of Key Performance Indicators in Institutions

There are six steps that have been highlighted over the years in helping in the success of any KPI. The first step involves the identification of the KPI and the expected outcome of the performance (11). Step two involves the determination of the key actions that will be applied in achieving the expected outcome (9). The next step is to identify the key individuals who are to perform these key actions and also ensure that there is integrity in communication and documentation of the expected outcomes (15). Step number four requires the organization to determine all the necessary resources and requirements in order to achieve these expectations. The next step is to establish the required time period and the overall progress of any Performance Indicator. Finally it is necessary to validate the alignment (3).

In any Teaching Tertiary Hospital, it is important to state all the goals of the institution so that the necessary KPIs may be selected. Such a strategy has been in use for several years by very many Health-care institutions (14). Such a practise has been done because the goals of the organization are what define the nature of KPI to be applied. Incidentally, KPIs are strategies that are aimed in measuring the organization’s progress in the achievement of its goals (14). In that case, the application of these KPIs helps provide the tertiary institution with real-time opinions and views on the current progress in the learning activities. Over the years, sources have indicated that the use of KPIs in tertiary Health-care institutions should always involve the use of Report Compilation Systems, use of charts and also spreadsheets. Another lesson to be learned from literature review is that all tertiary institutions should ensure that their stated KPIs are quantifiable and reflect the exact picture of the institution (12).

In order for a given KPI to be of great value in an organization, it is important that there should be a way of defining and measuring the KPI accurately. The reason for this strategy during the implementation of a KPI is to enable the learning institution to meet its criteria in the reflection of the organization’s goals (13). Another important thing is that there must be enough considerations in the way the KPI are to be measured. There should also be definitions on how the indicators are exactly calculated and in what values they are to be calculated. It would also be important that the tertiary learning institution sticks to the key definitions behind successful KPI implementations from time to time. After this it should eventually give an annual comparison of the already met goals and the ones yet to be met (15). Over the last few years, KPIs have been used in many different types of project managements (13). Also, it is important that the target is specific in order to ensure that each individual in the organization plays a key role towards the accomplishment of the goals.


In practice, managing KPIs has proven to be difficult and expensive for very many organizations. In that case, many officers and administrators tend to lose their morale along the way. Another issue that has been raised over the years is that, once a KPI has been created, it is usually hard to adjust a given goal and hence most of the KPIs created tend to be dubious and out of order. In that connection, all organizational analysts should keep in mind all the requirements towards an intelligent KPI (15). This means that all the departments in all institutions must work hard towards that KPI. It will hence be agreed that any successful implementation of KPIs in any teaching hospital institution will result in improved management of human resources as well as the clinical economies (6). This is so because all the available resources are put into consideration when mentioning the goals. This means that the relationship between the goals and KPIs is very significant.


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