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Showing posts from September, 2008

This Just In: Performance Measurement Works

Do management techniques like monitoring performance and setting targets really work? Most managers are convinced, and those who hire them would like to think so. Where's the evidence?

The first-of-its kind study by researchers from Stanford, the London School of Economics and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests the answer is yes (see Scott Thrum’s September 8, 2008, Wall Street Journal column “Theory & Practice: The “Same 01” Is Actually Good Enough for Many”).

This is good news, especially for performance measurement. Like management in general, performance measurement needs more than anecdote to assure its widespread adoption, especially in the courts community. Unlike management in general, performance measurement and management techniques are not broadly accepted and are still widely viewed as innovative and experimental.

The study, including more than 4,600 midsize factories in 12 countries, is based on responses to surveys of plant managers and examination …

Monitoring and Eliminating “Never Events” in Court Administration

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently made “never events” – so called because they should never happen – a prominent part of its performance measurement and management policy for U.S. hospitals. The concept of “never events” is yet another example of the nation-wide movement to reform health care by performance monitoring, analysis and management (see Pursuing Perfection – A Lesson from Health Care, Made2Measure, November 1, 2006).

Starting in October, Medicare will stop reimbursing hospitals for treating device related infections, urinary tract infections, and surgical infections after orthopedic and heart surgery. Why?

Because they are “never events” that should never or rarely ever happen. Because there is proof that nearly all of these hospital infections that sicken and kill millions of patients a year are avoidable when hospital nurses and doctors clean their hands, decontaminate medical devices and instruments, and take other relatively simple preventative…

The Real Start-Up Costs of Performance Measurement

Performance measurement does not cause inefficiencies and poor practices. It just highlights them for improvement. The cost of fixing them should not be counted against the start-up costs of performance measurement and management.

This point often gets lost as courts and court systems embark on initiatives to build performance measurement and management systems. If nothing else, this point needs to be reinforced to blunt a favorite argument against performance measurement initiatives – it all takes too much time, effort and money (see Eight Reasons Not to Measure Court Performance, Made2Measure, April 5, 2006).

Some things just need to be fixed anyway.

For example, as courts consider the required elements of measures like case clearance rate, on-time case processing, and age of pending caseload, they need to define, in no uncertain terms, such things as: (1) what to count and what not to count; (2) how to classify what they count; (3) when to start and stop the clock; (4) when a cas…