Sunday, March 12, 2023

Measuring Medical Quality - Let the Games Begin!

There are two ways to increase a quality rating of a process.  The old-fashioned way to work and study and practice and seek assistance and practice again and fail and regroup and ultimately objectively increase performance. Here are a few examples of this technique.
  • A basketball player works with a coach and increases his foul shot success rate by 15%.
  • A new medicine increases the cure rate of a disease by 40%.
  • An engineering team invents a cell phone battery that has 5x the storage of current batteries.
There is another way to increase quality ratings that has become quite common.  Lower the standards or game the system.  Here are some examples to illustrate.
  • Lower academic standards in order to increase a high school's can graduation rate.
  • Lower the income threshold of poverty so we can boast that there are fewer impoverished people in our communities.
  • A surgeon's outcome stats rise markedly when he declines to accept very ill patients.
So, if you are trying to improve your own stats, you have 2 pathways available.  Both will increase your rating.  I’ll let readers decide which path is the preferred route.

If enlarge the hoop, we will increase players' quality.

Indeed, when a hospital or a school or charitable organization is found to be mediocre by those who rate and assess them, often there is push back claiming that the rating methods are 'highly flawed' or have failed to take account of various exceptional circumstances.  In contrast, those who score well never criticize the rating method.  Go figure!

This blog’s raison d’etre is fostering medical quality.  Hospitals, extended care facilities, physicians, investigators, medical devices and drugs are all rated.  The public should view these ratings with a tincture of skepticism.  A high - or even rising - quality rating does not mean that actual quality has increased.  

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