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What gets measured

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By Merilee Dannemann

By the sheerest coincidence, I have just read two books that turned out to share a theme: the power of statistics. “Moneyball,” by Michael Lewis, is about major league baseball.  

“Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder, is about the physician Paul Farmer, who revolutionized medical care in rural parts of Haiti and other remote places.

Both books describe revolutions in the practice of a discipline because of a revolution in what gets measured and somebody’s bull-headed insistence that it is critical to measure the right things.

Which brings me to the New Mexico workers’ compensation system, which I happen to know rather well, and what isn’t measured.

The New Mexico work comp system measures cost but not results. Therefore, we don’t know what works and what doesn’t.

Workers’ compensation provides medical care and monetary benefits to people who get injured at work. But we don’t know how many injured workers get better and how many just get stuck.  


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