Dietitians have been helping Australian's to manage their weight for at least 50 years. Dietitians have wanted to produce a report using data from their practice to be able to show how much they are helping Australian's in the community. Simple questions like how many people have they helped, what did they help with, how much help did people need....but when it came time to finding data on their service, a key tool was missing.....A Performance Reporting Framework (PRF). Performance Reporting in Health, means the health service can measure data, collect data, analyse the data, and can use the data to report on the efficiency AND effectiveness of the health service provided. A simple PRF for health services looks like this: A general model for performance reporting in health (efficiency and effectiveness)
To be able to report the efficiency and effectiveness of a health service, the service would need to identify a set of performance indicators as inputs, outputs and outcomes. There is a relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes: inputs are the resources put in like staff wages, overheads, education material; outputs are the products or services provided by the health professional to achieve a desired outcome. Efficiency links inputs to outputs; it is a measure of how many units of input for each unit of output. Effectiveness links outcomes to inputs and outputs: it is the degree to which the objective of the service is met.
We can apply this general model for a PRF to the practice of dietitians providing a weight-loss service in the community. Once we identify the performance indicators we can measure from the service as inputs, outputs, and outcomes, the framework allows for profession-centric indicators to build a common reporting framework. When we replace the general indicators for dietitian-centric indicators into the PRF, the potential for service reporting for dietitians is clearer. The indicators listed in the PRF for dietitians, are all indicators from data collected routinely as part of practice, or, able to be routinely set-up such as the 'inputs'.
An example PRF for dietitians providing a weight-management service in the community
Dietitians would be able to calculate their inputs, and count the time they spend with each client and the materials they used (outputs). Dietitians measure health outcomes as part of standard practice, weight, and waist circumference are two cheap and simple measures that are well documented as being independent markers of health status. This diagram indicates the potential for a data-collection tool for dietitians in its ability to capture simple routine data items and to then routinely report service effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness. Once a service has a reasonable calculation as an input for output unit, the foundations for other economic analysis are made.