29 December 2006

Meaningless Mickey Mouse Micro-targets

Meaningful social and environmental targets must be broad; otherwise we risk a proliferation of Mickey Mouse micro-targets, that may seem unarguably valuable at first sight, but whose achievement comes at the expense of other valid goals. Take this example, where the always-interesting UK-based National Health Service Blog Doctor is writing about a patient, Robert, showing unexplained weight loss:
I have written about this before. The days of the hospitals taking on patients and sorting them out has long gone. NHS hospitals no longer see patients. They process problems. This is a direct result of government targets. To hit the targets, each hospital contact or “event” has to be concluded as quickly as possible. And so it is. Robert’s contact with the hospital is deemed a successful outcome, and points will have been scored. Meanwhile, his weight loss continues.

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