Why Metrics Matter: Highlights from the IRIS-CHMI Metrics Webinar

How can investors evaluate the impact of their health investments? How can investees report their results to their investors and regulators without the process becoming a burden? These questions set the stage for a recent webinar hosted by CHMI and the IRIS Initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network. The discussion, held on May 14th, provided attendees with an inside view on how the new IRIS-CHMI Health Metrics Framework can help health innovators to measure their social, environmental, and financial performance.



Presenters included:

In case you missed it, you’ll find a quick summary below, and you can view the recorded webinar and download the presentation here.

How to use the new CHMI-IRIS Metrics

After an introduction to the background and process of developing the metrics, Synowiec and Carey suggested that investors and healthcare organizations keep in mind the following guidelines for how the metrics framework can be used:

  • Menu of options: The metrics are not “one size fits all,” but instead function as a catalog from which investors and investees can select the most appropriate metrics for their work.
  • Adaptability: The metrics should be tailored to reflect an organization’s area of focus.
  • Evaluate effectiveness: Most metrics in the catalog are measures of inputs, outputs, and processes – which can serve as a foundation for measuring health outcomes.
  • Benchmarking: Comparable indicators of organizational performance can help program managers demonstrate impact and compare themselves to similar organizations.


Investors: Why Measure the Impact of your Investments?

How do impact investors assure reliable results and the strength of their investment when evaluating healthcare delivery organizations? According to Varun Sahni, impact investors must address:

  • Affordability: How are health programs priced relative to surrounding organizations and with respect to consumers’ ability to pay?
  • Accessibility:  Are community members able to access health services?
  • Innovation: How do organizations leverage their innovation in the market? How effective is the healthcare organization’s business model?


Investors need this information early in the process to inform their selection of investees, and on an ongoing basis to evaluate programs’ social impact across their portfolios. Sahni notes that impact investors can use metrics to create a dialogue about the investor’s and investee’s shared interests. Metrics allow investors to standardize their data, both in qualitative and quantitative measurements. From an investor’s perspective the essential value of the IRIS-CHMI Health Metrics Framework is the ability for investors, investees, NGO’s and governmental officials to share a common language that allows them to measure impact from a place of mutual understanding.


Investees: Why Measure the Impact of Your Program?

LifeSpring Hospitals partners with investors to provide maternity care through a chain of hospitals operating in Hyderabad, India. Vijay Srinivas shared his perspective on the numerous challenges service providers face when evaluating their own impact and attempting to communicate their value to investors.  Programs must balance reporting on financial performance with their social and environmental impact performance, particularly through metrics on the affordability and quality of care.

According to Srinivas, impact measurement is essential for organizations to:

  • Understand their commercial and social performance relative to their organizational goals
  • Focus the areas and level of their impact relative to comparable health organizations
  • Speak the language of investors and in-country regulators when reporting results

“The IRIS-CHMI metrics are clarifying measurements. LifeSpring is now speaking the language of Ministry of Health and government officials, which is the language that investors utilize” Srinivas said. Metrics can function as a review of customer experience, and translate into a guide for provider behavior that assures quality in care.  Srinivas mentioned that he looks forward to finding the overlap between what investors want to see and what investees want to report.


Next Steps for Investors and Investees

What can investors and program managers do to measure their impact in health? “Explore the IRIS and CHMI websites!” says Varun. “There’s no use in reinventing the wheel.” He adds that organizations that are ready to measure their performance and benchmark successes should be clear on their enterprises’ core mission and define their impact.


The IRIS-CHMI Health Metrics Framework and supporting documents can be downloaded here. Registration in the IRIS system and the CHMI database is free for investors and organizations alike, and can help health innovators and their funders connect to competitions, awards, and other programs.


Photo: Patients display records outside a clinic operated by Operation ASHA in India © Andr√© J. Fanthome