Data and metrics play important roles in quality and process improvement efforts. For one specific process improvement method, Lean or Lean health care, data and metrics are central components, allowing users to identify areas that need improvement and to assess the degree to which improvements have been realized. This article explores the role that metrics and measurement played in a wide-reaching “Lean”-based continuous quality improvement effort carried out in the primary care departments of a large, ambulatory care health care organization.Methods:
This article is based on qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews with physicians, staff, and health care leaders.Results:
Suggestions for improving the ways that metrics may be optimally used, presented, and approached while carrying out health care improvement efforts include having accurate and compelling data throughout the improvement process, ensuring that metrics are professionally meaningful to physicians, and presenting metrics in a manner that increases the likelihood that they will be digested and ultimately used to improve health care.Conclusions:
Effective strategies for selecting and presenting metrics to practicing physicians are an important part of a successful quality improvement effort.