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If You Are Standing Still, You Are Falling Behind

You might have already watched an amazing video (below) featuring Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute, who shows the relative progress of countries, in terms of wealth and health, over 200 years by plotting life expectancy against income.

Three points for the practising healthcare quality professional:

1. Display data effectively
It’s not sufficient to merely collect data and analyse them. How you summarise and present the data makes a huge difference in whether people understand it. A good presentation of the data will not only help to convey the intended message but will also keep your audience engaged.

2. Summary statistics hide information
In the example above, major health disparities exist within each country, no matter how wealthy/healthy it is. When we look at summarised data, we should remember that patterns and outliers may be hidden within them. If appropriate, dig deeper to get a better picture of what is really going on.

3. Everyone makes progress. The question is how fast.
Nations, organizations and individuals will make progress. Most will improve over time, and some might even reach their goals. A hospital might aim to be accredited, cut its patient fall rate by 50%, or hit $100M in revenue. An individual, on the other hand, might look forward to paying off the home mortgage, getting a promotion, or passing the CPHQ exam. Most organizations and individuals will get to their destination eventually. But will it be soon enough?

Some people are quite satisfied with maintaining the same results and, therefore, make little, if any, attempt to improve. A hospital cannot maintain its leadership position in the market by doing the same things it has done for the past 10 years. A person’s current skill set and qualifications won’t carry the same value in 10 years’ time unless he/she continuously acquires skills to keep up with the times.

If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind.

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