The desire to measure outcomes to monitor performance and improve health care and teaching is more than understandable: It would seem to go without saying for a research methodologist. But there can be too much of a good thing, as school systems and hospital systems have been discovering.
Does it make sense that more than 1,600 medical centers identify themselves as being in some type of “best” list of hospitals? The Joint Commission that accredits American hospitals has suspended its annual rating of hospitals. In the words of Robert M. Wachter, at UC San Francisco, “Measurement cannot go way, but it needs to be scaled back and allowed to mature.”
Dr. Wacther suggests:
(1) Use more targeted carefully developed measures.
(2) Conduct more research on quality measurement, with different populations.
(3) Minimize the burden measurement placed on professionals.
(4) Listen to feedback from professionals.
1. As part of the “move to measure,” many colleges and universities now expect academic departments to have formal learning goals for their majors and to use measures to assess learning outcomes. What is the approach with your major? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
2. Do you feel you will receive better care when you visit your doctor or are hospitalized if the health care providers are required to record carefully what procedures they have used and to then track your outcomes, so this can be reported (anonymously) and monitored? What do you think should be approach to monitoring quality in health care?