Another Source of Continuing Error


Reform resistance and continuing a pattern of avoidable errors is understandable when there is no feedback on what you are doing. It is not reasonable to expect improvement without evidence on current performance. No one would expect a sharpshooter to improve her scores if she has no information on where her shots are landing. Furthermore, the feedback data has to be detailed enough to guide recalibration. A simple hit rate doesn't tell the sharpshooter to aim higher/ lower/ left or right.

In most areas of public service the feedback data is inadequate to non-existent. Educators rarely structure their learning plans for students with built in feedback loops of sufficient detail to allow self-correction. A significant proportion of health care providers, hospitals and clinics are operating with inadequate data streams on the care process, outcomes or even real costs.  All too often only paper based records or stand-alone legacy data entry and event scheduling systems are available. Important information is easily lost, misfiled or overlooked or simply not available in these outdated, non-communicating systems. These isolated recording systems cannot track sources, providers, consumers, equipment and material used and available and obtained results in real time. As a result the system suffers cyclical or permanent mismatches between supply and demand and has no way to efficiently anticipate, prepare for or respond to surges in demand.

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