Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
What are KPIs?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) for the NHS Screening Programmes were introduced in 2011 to provide a way of measuring how well the screening programmes are doing in important areas.
You can download detailed guidance, including a list of all current KPIs, from the data collection process page.
For example, the newborn hearing screening programme has a KPI about how quickly babies referred from the hearing screen get seen by audiology. Measuring the timeliness of this referral process has meant some babies getting audiology appointments sooner than they would otherwise have done, which in turn means they can get earlier help if they have a hearing impairment. This leads to better long term outcomes for them.
Val Armstrong, Deputy QA Director, says "The KPIs are one of the best tools we have to monitor the performance of local screening services. They help services to understand how they're doing so they can ensure they provide an equitable and consistently high quality service".
There are currently 16 KPIs, across antenatal and newborn screening, diabetic eye screening and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening. The KPIs are regularly reviewed to ensure they are still useful. New KPIs are only added if their benefits clearly outweigh any data collection challenges.
Please note that the cancer screening programmes KPIs are managed separately.
The impact of KPIs
The KPIs help local screening services to identify potential problems so they can be put right.
For example it is really important to account for any missing test results. Say for example 100 women had a particular screening test but only 90 of them had received a result, we would need to understand what happened to the other 10 tests and what we then need to do to make sure all women who asked for a test get their results. The KPIs can help us to do that by showing us which results are missing.
The KPIs are not just another data collection exercise. They have led to changes in practice and measures to prevent errors occurring in the screening pathway. Screening laboratories are now better at distinguishing antenatal screening samples from other non-screening samples. This means it is easier to check that everyone gets their screening results. Feedback from services tells us that screening staff are convinced the KPIs have had a positive effect:
“The introduction of screening KPIs has driven improvements in our service; consequently we now have a more robust screening service for women.” (Anna Dellaway, Head of Midwifery at Kingston Hospital)
“Although the KPIs required some effort to implement and an ongoing commitment to collecting the data they are exceedingly useful.” (Yvonne Daniel, Sickle and Thalassaemia Laboratory Screening lead at St Thomas Hospital)
“The KPIs for screening have had a major impact within my unit, in terms of raising the profile of screening and ensuring that quality assurance is taken seriously.” (Kathrine McGregor, screening co-ordinator at the Royal Free Hospital)
"Running a screening programme is often a balancing act and if you're not careful, it's possible to concentrate on one target or area at the expense of another. Monitoring our figures for the KPIs helps us keep our eyes on all aspects of the programme enabling us to adjust resources as necessary to maintain that balance." (Nick White, Programme Manager, Brighton & Sussex Diabetic Eye Screening Programme)