I was asked to contribute 150 words for an article on Key Performance Indicators in Dentistry, as I was addressed (probably tongue in cheek) as a “thought leader in dentistry” I wrote this opinion piece only to have it “spiked” as the editor wanted my “top” 3-6 KPIs – that will follow. I was happy enough with what I had written so I thought I would share it here.

The acronym KPIs has only drifted into view for many dentists with the recent imposition of the “PDS plus” contracts under the watchful eye of Dr Mike Warburton who is seeking to bring the same harmony to GDPs that he has to their medical colleagues.

A part of Peter Drucker’s philosophy of management by objectives, KPIs arrived along with the mantra “no management without measurement”. I firmly believe that there are certain basic parameters that must be measured and monitored in order that the performance of the business can be assured.

However, I know that measuring everything without regard for quality, the individuals involved and their understanding of the systems in which they work can lead to a target driven environment. This can rob the organisation of leadership, remove its flexibility and its ability to adapt to a changing environment.

So KPIs are important as a tool and a means to an end but not an end in themselves.


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