Saturday, May 31, 2014

Big Data, Friend or Foe ?

No Child Left Behind

Recently I heard an NPR report on the increasing displeasure about The “No Child Left Behind”, a Department of Education program initiated during the Bush administration.  It’s stated goal was to improve the performance of children in school.  Teachers were to be held accountable for their student’s performance as measured by the ‘Star Test’.  Many teachers became disillusioned wiith teaching using this metric as a measure of their competence. Many suffered “burn out’ and left the profession.  The mantra “teaching to the test’ became a war cry for the movement.  Charter schools popped up throughout the nation as a safety valve for the embattled eudcational system to remove teachers from the bureaucracy which now became more important than understanding the subject matter. Teachers were to improve test scores to a benchmark to demonstrate success in revised curricula.  Data about improvement in the weak portions of the school system became paramount, rather than keynoting the best parts of the American School System.

Big Data, Friend or Foe ?

Does this sound similar to our current health care conundrum? HHS, another federal bureaucracy, and many state health departments are intent on the same measurements collecting ‘big data’ from elaborate  HIT structure incentivized with federal tax dollars.  The similarity is frightening as the powers that be are more interested in figures than real patient care.  Bureaucrats are not seeking improved health care, just the measure of how much  can be saved with shorter stays in hospital. In order to accomodate these mandates, massive consolidation is taking place in health organizations.
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