As I was watching the Miami Marlins a few days ago and, somewhere between a bite of stale stadium pretzel and sip of flat Coca-Cola, a question suddenly burned itself into my head. It hasn't left since: "Why aren't the statistics we use in healthcare as complete or useful as ones seen in baseball?" Sabermetrics, which you can read more on here, goes a long way to guide decision making in America's pastime, and yet the stats we use to guide high risk healthcare decisions are nowhere near as sophisticated in most organizations. In fact, a great deal of the data we use in healthcare for process improvement is just plain incorrect. (More here.) Whether owing to discomfort with Statistics, lack of popularity, or lack of knowledge, healthcare just does not frequently use tools like CPK, decision trees, or control charts...and when they are used that use is typically improper.
Shouldn't we at least demand the same level of Statistics sophistication seen in baseball when it comes to treatment decisions that impact our health and longevity? There are many reasons given why advanced decision making tools are not used daily in healthcare, yet few of these reasons are good enough.
Remarkably, a doctor today can get more data on the starting third baseman on his fantasy baseball team than on the effectiveness of life-and-death medical procedures.