Mismeasuring Medicine. “The Tyranny of Metrics,” with Jerry Z. Muller, PhD

 

Name: Jerry Z. Muller, PhD

Location: Catholic University of America. Washington, DC

Specialty: Professor of History.

Most of you know the quote, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” It’s often attributed, incorrectly, to the famous nineteenth century physicist, Lord Kelvin. Wherever it came from, it’s sounds about right. Same goes for this familiar quote from a popular business book author, “What gets measured gets done.”

Well, in today’s episode were going to talk about what’s getting measured and what’s actually getting done. What’s getting measured are thousands of performance and quality indicators. What’s getting done is docking our medical system billions of dollars every year in costs and lost productivity. Nothing new to all of you out there. But what if this “metric fixation,” is doing more than just wasting time and money? Used correctly, metrics and big data analysis offer incredible promise for research, visibility and improvement. Used incorrectly, they can steer us off course, devalue professional judgment, manipulate, encourage fraud, and possibly cause real harm to physicians, hospitals and patients.

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