At its most fundamental core, quality improvement of healthcare services and resources requires disciplined attention to the measurement, monitoring, and reporting of system performance (Drake, Harris, Watson, & Pohlner, 2011; Jones, 2010; Kennedy, Caselli, & Berry, 2011). Research points to performance measurement as a significant factor in enabling strategic planning processes and achievement of performance goals (Tapinos, Dyson & Meadows, 2005). Thus, without a system of measurement that accounts for the performance behaviors of healthcare professionals, managers and administrative employees, quality improvement remains a visionary abstraction (de Waal, 2004).
The Mayo Clinic (Mayo) provides a compelling and instructive example of the critical role of performance measurement in managing performance behaviors. An analysis of the Mayo approach offers insightful understanding of effective performance management practices. Accordingly, this paper reviews the Mayo performance management system from four perspectives (a) leadership strategy, (b) performance measurements, (c) human resources management, and (d) the alignment of performance with strategy. The discussion concludes with an assessment of the alignment of the elements comprising the Mayo performance management system with recommendations for strengthening those alignments.
The Mayo Clinic: A Leadership Perspective
Competitive advantage matters greatly to those responsible for the management of healthcare institutions. Together with rapidly escalating healthcare costs, increasingly complex medical technologies, and growing regulatory and legal pressures, healthcare organizations face a critical need to improve the quality of care at reduced costs (Curtright, Stolp-Smith, & Edell, 2000). In response, Mayo implemented an integrated performance management and measurement system to improve the quality and value of healthcare services to its stakeholders (Curtright et al., 2000). Meaningful, sustainable quality improvement mandates a systematic approach to performance management that aligns performance and measures with organizational mission, vision, strategy, and values (Aguinis, 2009; Curtright et al., 2000; Daft, 2008).
The Mayo mission, vision, strategies, and values derive from the organization’s integrated, multi-specialty approach to healthcare (“The Mayo Effect,” 2010). The Mayo mission is “To inspire hope and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education, and research” (“Mayo Clinic Mission and Values,” 2012). Mayo’s recently updated vision, “In the future, we will provide our patients an unparalleled experience as their most trusted healthcare partner” (“The Mayo Effect,” 2010) provides an enduring view of its mission. Together, these two cornerstones of organizational purpose guide the organization’s strategic planning and performance management processes.