Practice Notes

Member asks: How do I structure a physician performance scorecard?

Erin Lane

We receive many questions about tracking physician performance—and for good reason. As we move into an industry where reimbursement increasingly relies on quality, medical groups are responsible for tracking more metrics to measure outcomes against quality goals.

With so much information now available through electronic medical records (EMR), it’s easy to lose sight of the most important metrics. We addressed this challenge—and the hazard of data overload—in an earlier blog post about ways to streamline your physician scorecard. But after identifying the right metrics, you still have to figure out the best way to deliver this information.

When done well, physician scorecards provide physicians with a clear picture of their performance: they lay out the group’s expectations, identify areas for improvement, and align individual goals with the group’s greater goals. Scorecards that are not deliberately designed can end up wasting resources and lowering visibility.

The dos and don’ts

Here are our tips for designing best-in-class performance dashboards:

  • Do organize metrics. After you complete the process of narrowing down your performance metrics, use the dashboard as an opportunity to educate your physicians on the most important performance elements.
  • Don’t just list outcomes. Show your physicians how their outcomes compare to medical groups goals or to their own past performance.
  • Do draw attention to low (or high) performance. Capture your physicians’ attention by highlighting areas that need improvement, and/or acknowledge metrics where your physicians are meeting or beating expectations.
  • Don’t go graphic-crazy. Only include critical charts and graphs that highlight hot-button issues, since they can be confusing and take up significant scorecard real estate.

Putting the guidelines into practice

Here’s a sample physician scorecard from Roberts Physician Group (pseudonym).

A few key characteristics make this a particularly effective scorecard:

  • Organized metrics. Metrics are organized by subtopic, highlighting five distinct areas of focus.
  • Clear comparisons. Performance measures are compared to previous data or a group goal, which offers additional context for each measure.
  • Visibly marked areas for improvement. Low performance is marked in red, calling out areas to target for improvement.
  • Limited graphics. Two bar charts show patient visit data, highlighting this specific medical group goal.

Download the Study to Learn More

As you look to build scorecards for your organization, see our study, Building Actionable Performance Dashboards, created to help medical group executives design and implement dashboards with meaningful metrics and principled goals. 

You can find Roberts Medical Group’s and other sample scorecards in the study’s appendix.

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