We all know we get what we measure, so we must be careful what we ask for. Just because some indicators, such as childhood immunisation rates, are found to be correlated with healthcare quality in a district, that does not necessarily make it a good proxy measure for quality. A quick campaign to improve immunisation rates could do wonders for the statistics, while leaving the vast proportion of the community no better off.
We need to think hard about what matters to patients. In my view it boils down to just three things: survival; how you feel; and how much you can do. Outcomes transparency requires us to measure these and publish the results.
Tim Benson, director, Routine Health Outcomes