Standardizing and improving performance measurement for healthcare organizations: Recommendations and reflections from the health metrics working group

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The IRIS initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network and the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) seek to build on this body of knowledge and to harmonize disparate measures into a common set of metrics and definitions suitable for practical application by funder organizations, including investors, donors and domestic government funders, and by the programs they fund. The focus here is on developing common metrics for tracking organizational performance in health care delivery. This is important because a large and growing proportion of impact investments are to health care delivery organizations.

CHMI and IRIS convened an expert working group, composed of practitioners, impact investors, donors, and others with health implementation and metrics design expertise. Experts reviewed best practices in performance measurement used by health service organizations targeting the poor, pulling from sources such as the World Health Organization and the World Bank. Further, experts vetted the metrics through open comment periods, soliciting feedback on the clarity, usability, and feasibility of the catalog of indicators.

The primary audiences for this paper include: 1) healthcare organizations seeking investment and structured data collection processes to communicate their impact to funders. Organizations that are building performance frameworks for the first time and those with existing frameworks will find this useful; 2) investors and funders interested in or actively placing investment capital in health delivery organizations or directly funding their services for key populations and who are seeking to measure the organization’s performance. This paper will also help health experts (program managers, evaluators, and researchers) understand impact investors’ and funders’ measures of social performance, and how they relate to other social performance metrics. 

The goal of this paper is twofold:

1) To provide a rationale and context to help stakeholders use these metrics, including how these metrics connect to other health metric efforts;

2) To summarize key points of discussion from the working group, including important issue areas for which no standard metrics were ultimately recommended.