Performance Management for Health in Washington State

Case Solution

Arnold Howitt, Jennifer Weeks
Harvard Kennedy School ()

By the mid-2000s, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) had built a national reputation as an innovative and effective agency. But beginning in 2005, when Governor-elect Christine Gregoire introduced a performance management system at the state level, the Government Management, Accountability and Performance Health Department (GMAP) and other government agencies had to regularly explain and justify their I work through the newly established forum. Based on two similar but smaller programs, CompStat (created by the New York Police Department in 1994) and CitiStat (used by the City of Baltimore), GMAP urged public officials to analyze the data in new ways and reconsider the nature of the results that were responsible for delivery. This case provides background on the origins of the GMAP and the general way in which the initiative was managed, but focuses primarily on DOH’s efforts to meet the new performance measurement requirements and expectations of the Governor, his staff, and the GMAP. – Comply with the leadership. In examining the benefits and challenges of the division’s experience with GMAP, the case also raises questions about the applicability and usefulness of such a public health system, which typically addresses complex issues with goals often difficult to quantify. File number 1994.0

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