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What Do We Mean by Measurement for Judgment?

Don Goldmann, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, IHI

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • List five ways measurement for judgment is used within health care.
  • Explain why it’s important that measurement for judgment is precise.
  • Discuss why benchmarking can be misleading.

Description: Within improvement work, our primary focus is on measuring whether a tested change is having a positive or negative influence on the system. That’s measurement for improvement. But what about measurement for judgment? When is that valuable in health care? 

In this IHI Open School short, Don Goldmann, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at IHI, lists five ways measurement for judgment is used within health care. And he explains why this type of measurement better be done well — or policy makers, providers, and patients could be misled.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Briefly describe the three different types of measurement Dr. Goldmann describes.
  2. Why can benchmarking be misleading? How do patient populations influence a hospital’s outcomes?
  3. What is your reaction when you hear the phrase “measurement for judgment”? Are you defensive? Why or why not?
  4. Share one or two personal experiences with measurement for judgment within health care. When has measurement been helpful? When has it had a negative effect on you or your organization? Has it ever been inaccurate?
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