KPIs and how they can help

What is a KPI? A KPI (or Key performance indicator) is a term used to measure or monitor performance against an agreed goal.

Using a KPI is a great way of showing how your service contributes to national or local targets/performance. You can use them to show the contribution of your service to performance in areas like quality or efficiency.

Performance indicators are usually nationally or locally agreed. Some national examples might be achieving certain rates of screening or delivering certain interventions within a specific time period. Local examples that a specialist nurse might use include reviewing all referred patients within 24 working hours, that certain interventions are performed or that 80% of patients are seen within 15 minutes of appointment time.

When choosing a performance indicator for your nursing service take some time to choose one or two things to record data about. If possible choose an influential or national indicator for example if working in cancer you might choose to use compliance with undertaking a holistic needs assessment or record why it was not done. In other specialisms you might choose some best practice guidance to audit performance against. The easiest way to approach this is to choose something that should happen in a patient pathway and see how often it does or does not happen. If it does not happen record why. Its also a good idea to record a little more fundamental data such as patient number, date etc. This will also help you build a picture of your caseload.

An example from stoma care

Siting a stoma prior to surgery & delivering patient education has been shown to produce better outcomes. Patients are likely to leave hospital promptly and less likely to use emergency care. This is good news for everyone and shows why it’s important to do these interventions. Siting a stoma is now best practice guidance and this spreadsheet shows how to monitor performance against that standard. It allows the stoma nurse to record when a stoma is or is not sited prior to surgery, if not why not and then if education is delivered. This can then be used to see how well the service performs against the national standards and also if there is an issue it allows the nurse to articulate what that issue is.

Have a look at this and see if you think it is possible to do the same thing for your area of practice.

Download KPI Tool