“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” Albert Einstein
Douglas W. Hubbard’s book, “How to Measure Anything” is not one that you will curl up and read on a rainy day by a cozy fire, but it is a terrific reference for anyone who has to measure and report “what matters.” Although the focus is not healthcare specific, there is a lot of great and user friendly information that is structured around two basic principles:
1. A measurement is any metric that reduces uncertainty and aids the decision process.
2. If it’s meaningful, there’s a way to measure it — even if you can only measure its downstream effects.
I agree with Hubbard. You can measure anything. But what makes this book worthwhile is its relentless focus on ensuring what you measure has meaning and — sadly — a whole lot of what gets measured doesn’t.
And who can resist chapters with titles like:
- Building an Intuition for Random Sampling: The Jelly Bean Example
- A Little about Little Samples: A Beer Brewer’s Approach
Or my favorite:
- Homo absurdus: the Weird Reasons Behind Our Decisions
Imagine — measurement made fun.