Posted by: Witch Doctor | July 25, 2010

The abacus, statistics, feedback or common sense?

witchround

The Witch Doctor and My Black Cat don’t know much about statistics.

We prefer The Abacus to give information regarding the quality of health care.

On the other hand Andrew Lansley, our new Secretary of State of Health, believes in using sites such as iwantgreatcare to give the required information.

ANDREW LANSLEY’S SPEECH

“Information for patients must embrace all that goes to make up quality – including access, waiting times, cleanliness, infection rates, quality of clinical care, results for patients, access to same sex accommodation and single rooms, cancelled operations, emergency readmissions, discharge arrangements, numbers of complaints, patient experience and patient-reported outcomes.

That sounds pretty forbidding perhaps. But most of this data already exists – it’s just that you can’t access it. So, as I began to do last week, we will continue to put information out there, where patients can see it. Where people such as “I Want Great Care”, Dr. Foster, CHKS, and others can enable patients to see who is doing well and badly; putting patients in the driving seat.

I simply don’t believe that in an open information culture of that kind, the scandalous failings that took place in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells and then at Stafford Hospitals could have gone unchallenged for so long.”

Neil Bacon and his colleagues at iwantgreatcare are preening themselves in hearing this story since they are “passionate” about the notion that experience matters.

http://blog.iwantgreatcare.com/2010/07/putting-patients-in-driving-seat-works.html

(The Witch Doctor has decided not to put a direct link to those sites that have an Intertwinglement with Common Purpose)

“In addition to the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley once again naming iWantGreatCare as an example of patient-centric outcomes which “put patients in the driving seat”, the Department of Health have released their Outcomes document and Health White Paper.

All those who are passionate about high quality care and patients getting the very best treatment, will be delighted by the new focus on outcomes.”

However, Dr Grumble, as he often does has put the cat among the pigeons. He wonders whether 50% of doctors who perform below average should be sacked. One of his readers who commented on his blog is of the opinion that we should aim to have half of all hospitals in the top quartile.

What do you suppose the abacus would say about that analysis, My Black Cat?

However, it seems, as Dr Grumble hastens to point out, there is a flaw in all of this.

He leads us to an interesting article that shows it might be possible to be jailed because the dice, just by chance, might fall the wrong way on the day people died.

CAN CHANCE MAKE YOU A KILLER?

Enter Ben Goldacre.

Watch him rocking the statistical boat.

Here

I THINK THIS GUARDIAN STORY MIGHT BE A BIT WRONG

and here:

I LOVE RESEARCH ABOUT RESEARCH

Mark you, My Black Cat, when it comes to statistics and medical outcomes, I think we are the ones with the right idea.

It doesn’t take a statistician or iwantgreatcare to work out how long it takes to give out patient medications, or bath or feed a patient or provide them with a bedpan / commode and then calculate out how many staff are required to do it.

Simple observation and The Abacus is all you need.

I wonder whether Ben Goldacre thinks iwantgreatcare is statistically useful or not.

Eh, My Black Cat?

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