With more organizations focusing on metrics, the MCC has received an increase of questions ranging from how to use metrics, why some metrics are better than others, which type of metrics is best to use, as well as questions about specific MCC Metrics. This column provides a forum for us to share these questions and answers with you.
MCC Members at the Gold or Platinum benefit level, can access the “MCC Ask the Experts – Questions and Answers Archive” by logging into the MCC member website. Interested in becoming a member or have questions about your membership? Contact membership director, Terry Holland.
A: The perspective at MCC is that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a type of metric. A KPI is a metric that has been selected because it helps to determine progress towards a strategic goal. As such, it is likely to be relatively high level as you describe. For example, you might have a goal of having 80% of clinical databases being locked on time. You could measure this with a metric such as “Proportion of studies where Database Lock occurs by agreed date.” This would be a metric that is ‘elevated’ to be a KPI. Typically, there are a relatively small number of KPIs that are tracked and monitored. But a KPI is a metric. Similarly, Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) are metrics used to measure risk and provide early warning of potential issues. Additionally, some organizations define Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) which are a type of KPI that determines progress towards a strategic quality goal.
Metrics provide you with information to monitor an activity or attribute, over time as well as the ability to compare results with other organizations to benchmark – for example, by comparing with known best practice. This can be done with metrics whether they are defined as KPIs, KRIs, KQIs or some other term. When carrying out a comparison, it is important to check that the metric definitions are identical, and inclusions and exclusions are defined in the same way. MCC metric definitions can help because they are rigorously defined with input from the many MCC member organizations.