Professional Development

Measuring Performance for HIT Employees

Five healthcare employees meeting together.

Technology has helped many healthcare organizations simplify access to patient information for key stakeholders, like physicians, patients, and payers. These organizations have become so complicated that they can be agile, but not lean. This makes the placing of controls and reward systems to assess employees’ performance very difficult.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [1] shows that the fastest growing sectors in the United States and the world, are healthcare and information technology (IT). As a matter of fact, healthcare information technology [HIT] is becoming one of the most attractive fields of employment because it combines these two popular industries [2]. Since 2009, many jobs have been created to meet the demands of the growing healthcare and technology sectors. These jobs span from the entry level up to the C-suite of healthcare organizations. In fact, a new candidate can often choose a career path that is designed to lead them directly to a corresponding C-suite position.

But how does an organization assess the performance of its employees given the vast diversity of the functions they perform and the different paths in the organization? It’s not an easy task to define the key performance indicators [KPIs] for a performance appraisal that would be fair to both the employee and organization.

Why Should Organizations Evaluate Employees’ Performance?

Healthcare organizations must evaluate employees’ performance because there is a strong link between their performance and the overall performance of the organization. Organizations must ensure employees:

  • Understand their job requirements
  • Have goals that are quantitatively and qualitatively evaluated
  • Know where they stand in relation to organizational performance standards

Performance appraisals should have the following characteristics:

  • Reliability: Results should be stable given the same circumstances within the administration
  • Validity: Ensure KPI measurement is accurate
  • Consistency: Two or more ways of gathering performance data should produce the same results
  • Stability: Performance measures should give the same results at various times, if the work environment did not change

Choosing the Best Appraisal Method for HIT Employees

HIT domains are vast, ranging from software engineering to project management to solution designs.  There isn’t a single appraisal method that suits employees across multiple disciplines. However, the following methods may be used for performance assessments and appraisals.

  • Management by Objective (MBO):

The measurement of performance is based on setting goals that [3] satisfy both organizational objectives and whether the employee reaches them. Incentives should be established and agreed to beforehand.

  • 360˚ Assessment:

This method [4] creates a sense of shared success. Anonymous feedback allows peers to be more candid when trying to help improve each other's performance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how most performance measures do not consider the well-being of an employee. Many healthcare IT employees were experienced job burn out when working conditions were disrupted during the pandemic, and this, in part, which led to “The Great Resignation.”

In my opinion, performance measures must consider:

  • Mental and physical health goals
  • Participation in organizational goal setting
  • Providing clear career pathways
  • Designating professional and social mentors to provide help as needed
  • Empowering employees
  • Defining and monitoring organizational core values


[1] The Fast-Growing Field of Health Information Technology - CET (

[2] Future of Healthcare: 10 Ways Technology Is Changing Healthcare (

[3] Locke, E. and Latham, G. (1990) Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

[4] Alexander, D. (2011) How Do 360 Degree Performance Reviews Affect Employee Attitudes, Effort and Performance? University of Rhode Island Center Seminar Research Series.