A philosophy of continuous improvement now governs much of global business culture. As part of that, the job of overseeing a data-driven approach to performance improvement has risen in importance across almost all industries.
In healthcare, this has led to the creation of positions such as performance improvement manager, clinical quality manager and quality improvement manager.
The title may vary, but the idea is the same for people in this position. The goal is to improve processes within a healthcare organization to the point where mistakes are limited and fewer man hours wasted on duplicative or needless tasks. This leads to improved financial performance and a superior level of goods or services provided.
Performance improvement managers handle a variety of duties that all support one main goal: ensuring that data-driven performance management and quality improvement programs are designed and implemented in a manner that aligns with an organization’s overall strategy.
In a healthcare setting, this always involves providing more effective and efficient care to patients.
In day-to-day work, performance improvement managers take on many different duties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They typically include:
- Researching and developing quality improvement programs to provide services that lead to better healthcare outcomes
- Working with top executives to develop performance improvement programs that support long-term goals
- Leading the effort to develop the technology infrastructure needed to support quality improvement programs
- Communicating the strategic vision, scope and mission of performance improvement management
- Measuring and evaluating data to determine the ultimate impact of the programs on both the medical operation and the health of patients
Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not yet provide salary and job growth projection data for performance improvement managers.
The BLS does offer some projections in related fields. For example, jobs for human resources managers – who made an average salary of $120,210 in May 2016 – are projected to increase by 9% between 2014 and 2024. Some specialists in human resources also focus on process and performance improvement.
On the data side, the number of operations research analysts are expected to grow a staggering 30% during that same time frame. People in these positions also use data-driven analysis to recommend changes in how an organization functions.
This is a data-field. That’s why university programs that focus on the merger of technology and health – such as the online Master of Science in Health Informatics/Healthcare Analytics from the University of South Florida – can provide a pathway to performance improvement management jobs.
Quality improvement managers may have a decade or more of experience in health management, giving them detailed knowledge on how a healthcare organization operates. The knowledge and skills acquired in that time will benefit them as they move into a management role where they can directly affect change.
The job attracts graduates new to the workforce, as well as working professionals in healthcare who have an interest in technology and a desire to streamline operations and deliver patients the best care possible.