The perfect outcome measure

Words by Sarah Yule


525, 600 minutes…how do you measure a year? For those that are fans of the song, hopefully you sang that sentence. We digress, how do you measure a month? A week? A Day?


For many of us, a portion of our day may be measured in how many patients we can see or in how many priority 1’s can reach on the hospital ward before morning tea and another birthday celebration cake. Perhaps it is measured by how many patients you treated successfully or…perhaps unsuccessfully? Perhaps we might explore what is a ‘successful treatment’ on another day! Measuring progress is a process we proudly undertake everyday with (hopefully) most of our patients, yet how often do we turn the lens onto ourselves?


Our university degrees and the subsequent structured bodies that follow after graduation instil a drive to measure progress. Measure KPI’s, measure 10 metre walk tests, measure joint angles, measure quality of life for our patients. We need these frames of reference and measurements to have a metric for improvement and change. In the same way, we ourselves need a metric and frame of reference for improvement. Improvement personally and professionally. What is your metric for improvement? What is your metric for a day well done?


In the same way that measuring a 6 minute walk test for Jerry our 62 year old COPD patient that is hoping to improve his time around Safeway with his wife is terrifically relevant, measuring the joint angle of his elbow is likely to be terrifically irrelevant. This may perhaps be stating the obvious, but how often do we get caught up measuring the wrong thing?  How often do you reach the end of the day/week/month and perhaps have ticked your metric of KPI’s or of number of patients seen? Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water – these are undoubtedly an important metric for a business or a hospital and therefore us too, but let’s not forget your own personal metric. The number of KPI’s you achieve may not fulfil and accurately reflect a smashing work day for you that will guide you to personal and professional progression. It may.  

Consider how perhaps you view your errors, your successes (which, depending on how you view, may in fact be interrelated), your interactions with patients and colleagues, your application of a new research article you read…can any of these become a part of your metric for a day well done? How you measure your day can flow into your goals.  Consider how you measure your day and does it lead to a better tomorrow?

Interested in maximising your skills? We can help! Check out our tailored programs that take practitioners from good to world-class.

Sarah Yule