The old adage that ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’, is so obvious and worthy of the Homer Simpson ‘Dah really’, that it is hard to believe that many of us don’t apply this basic principle or else we apply it incorrectly i.e., we measure the wrong things.
How many times have we heard our political masters pontificate on the ‘Millions of Euro we have invested in our Health Service?’ … that’s all fine and well but it doesn’t address the ‘So what’ of the investment – i.e., is it money well spent and for example have we seen an improvement in the following measurements?
- A substantial (versus the best European performance) reduction in the number of people on waiting lists, year on year
- A substantial (versus the best European performance) increase in the number of people successfully accessing our health services, year on year
- A substantial (versus the best European performance) reduction in the average time to successfully use our health services and also the variation around that average, again year on year
Accurate measurements and trustworthy data are the heartbeat of any successful improvement effort but instead of giving you the technical jargon how about the following commonsense …
This ditty is something I learned in my first job back in the mid-eighties from a wise old quality practitioner.
If you measure then you must record,
If you record then you must analyse,
If you analyse, then you must take action,
If you take action, you must follow-up to check for effectiveness,
If you follow-up, you must close-out!
It’s a bit like what Magnus Magnuson says – ‘I’ll start so I’ll finish’ – you have to close the loop otherwise it is just wasted time and resource.