Improving the Health System with Performance Reporting – Real Gains or Unnecessary Work?

Main Article Content

Gary E Day
Linda South


Aim: This paper will discuss current approaches to performance reporting and whether there are real benefits to healthcare organisations or whether it is a time consuming activity that adds little to improving quality healthcare and organisational performance. Most importantly, this paper will argue that performance reporting will not prevent another major healthcare scandal, such as that seen at Bundaberg Hospital or NHS Mid Staffordshire Trust. The paper will also outline learnings for Australia from other health systems where performance reporting is part of management practice.

Approach: While performance reporting is largely designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare organisations, this paper will explore the approach from a practical managerial perspective.

Context: This paper explores performance reporting across a range of Australian healthcare organisational settings to highlight differing approaches to improving performance.

Main findings: Performance reporting can be an effective tool to improve organisational performance. For performance reporting to be successful, managers and clinicians need to work collaboratively to identify areas for performance improvement and useful measures to address these. Additionally, organisations must choose a meaningful suite of measurements that can help drive performance improvement. Real time performance reporting, such as through performance dashboards, provides managers with the opportunity to make timely, incremental improvements. Finally, performance reporting must be done in a way that does not detract from providing safe, quality patient care.

Conclusions: Performance reporting can be a useful management tool for healthcare organisations, however organisations must consider timeliness of performance reporting and select a number of measurements that have impact for their given facilities and avoid the wholesale analysis of data that has little opportunity to improve practice or performance.

Abbreviations: LHN – Local Health Network; NEAT – National Emergency Access Targets; NHPA – National Health Performance Authority.

Article Details

How to Cite
Day, G. E., & South, L. (2016). Improving the Health System with Performance Reporting – Real Gains or Unnecessary Work?. Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management, 11(1), 8-13.
Analysis of Management Practice
Author Biographies

Gary E Day, Griffith University

School of Medicine, Griffith University
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Linda South, Essential Services Commission of South Australia

Essential Services Commission of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.