Manage Your Practice

Do You Measure up or Measure Down? Efficiency vs. Efficacy


They looked for a 16 cent phone charge.

I know someone who runs an efficient business. Or so he tells me.

A few days ago, his second in administrative command tracked down a 16 cent phone call. It took her quite a while. Emails were sent out to the team and to others with access to the room in which the phone is located.

What a waste of time!

But those higher up in management want to track every single itsy bitsy teenie weenie expense. These are folks with CFO-like thinking: a perfectly clear rearview mirror and a painted-over windshield.

Your business doesn’t exist to control costs. It exists to serve your customers. It’s efficacy in terms of doing the right thing the right way for your customers that’s important. Doing the wrong thing the right way is almost as useless as doing the wrong thing the wrong way. Efficiency is just measuring, including measuring the wrong thing.

Any physician or physician group with a contract or payment mechanism that links rewards to measurement needs to provide meaningful input into what it is that is being measured. Is that thing that’s being measured real in terms of the ultimate customer or is it just bureaucratic bullshit?

Unfortunately, you also need to come to the realization that some people are completely clueless bureaucratic bumblers who are paid by other fools based upon meaningless measurements. If those idiots control your contract, you’ve got to dance their dance until you can bring some sanity to what’s being measured.

Sure it’s not efficacious, but it’s short term efficient in preserving your position. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s a long term solution.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

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