The Balanced Scorecard In Healthcare: Is It Necessary?

Medical professionals take a pledge to “do no harm.” But is the lack of an organized strategic plan harming your company?

Co-Founder & Alabama Native


From doctors and nurses, to hospice workers and pharmacy technicians, people in the medical industry work hard to keep people safe and healthy. When someone falls ill or gets injured, healthcare professionals aid the patient back to health with clear, well-laid-out plans and instructions. Without these plans, the patient wouldn’t be able to get back to a place where he or she is healthy and thriving.

In the same way, healthcare and medical organizations must provide a plan, distributed out amongst its management and employees, on how to grow and continue offering the best services. Whatever their goals are, they must lay out a well-thought-out, clearly defined plan of action. Without this strategy map, how else would you be able to measure the progress you’ve made toward meeting your objectives?

But how do you actually go about creating this plan? The Balanced Scorecard.

What is the Balanced Scorecard?

Created in 1992 by Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a revolutionary way to handle strategy management. Notably, it centers your vision and strategy around four distinct measures: Customer, Internal Processes, Financial, and Learning/Growth. Essentially, the Balanced Scorecard allows you to get your whole team on the same page with organizational goals in a clear and understandable way. Although it started out being used primarily in the private sector, you’ll now see the Balanced Scorecard in healthcare, non-profit, government organizations, and a number of other types of associations.

Why do healthcare groups needs the Balanced Scorecard?


Making a hospital or other healthcare group run smoothly and provide good patient care is no laughing matter. Healthcare professionals and administrators work hard to meet their organizational goals, but it’s not always easy.

In an article published by Healthcare Reform Magazine, author Philip Weintraub describes how a non-profit community hospital benefitted from creating a hospital Balanced Scorecard. He asserts that in some scenarios (like his example), the goals created by a healthcare group may not be attainable without looking at the four sections––Customer, Internal Processes, Financial, and Learning/Growth––detailed out in the Balanced Scorecard. He notes that these sections compliment each other, and make it possible for healthcare organizations like the community hospital in his example to meet and exceed their strategic goals.

In order to fully understand how to put the BSC to work, let’s check out a real-world example of balanced scorecard. We will examine the BSC put together by Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, and four of the steps that they followed to create their scorecard. Their strategic model includes three main dimensions: quality of patient care, research and education, and accountability and sustainability.

1. Set vision and mission. For quality of care, they first set one of their visions as: “Lead in the development, application, and promotion of quality and safe practices system-wide that improve the patient experience and outcomes.”

2. Establish strategic goals. Next, Sunnybrook established several strategic goals in order to reach each vision. To meet the vision listed above, they set three distinct goals, or “objectives.” One such objective was: “To lead in generation and application of new knowledge in safety and quality practices through the Centre for Patient Safety.”

3. Set measures for each goal. In order to track their progress and ensure their objective would be met, they then set measures for each goal/objective. For the example above, they used “CPS High Impact Publications (%)” as their measure.

4. Set and measure targets. They then set a target for that measure––in this case, their target was 75. Then as time went on, they were able to determine whether they had met and exceeded their targets, or if they were underperforming.

If you’d like more detail about how you can use the Balanced Scorecard as a strategic management system, check out this Harvard Business Review article. If you’re ready to create your own Balanced Scorecard, find out which steps to take in this article.

Sample Strategy Maps For Medical & Healthcare Organizations


We believe that the Balanced Scorecard will support your healthcare strategy, and we’d like to help you get started. In the following white paper, we’ve created sample scorecards with examples to illustrate how medical and healthcare groups have put the Balanced Scorecard to work for them.

When you download this white paper, you’ll have access to the following information:

  • Five sample balanced scorecard strategy maps, from teaching hospitals to regional healthcare systems.
  • How medical and healthcare organizations worldwide are experiencing success with strategy mapping.
  • What conclusions you can draw from strategy mapping (and why you should create your own).

Download it now and get started on your updated strategic plan today.


The Balanced Scorecard In Healthcare: Is It Necessary?