slideshow widget

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Performance surveys: 90% is the new bad

So we had our monthly meeting this week. One of the things that comes up at each of them are various performance surveys. And the ironic thing is that no matter how good they are the bosses are never happy.

I know never is a generalization, but in this case it seems to be true. Shoreline contracts out a company to interview random patients to see what they thought of services provided, and the results showed for the caradiopulmonary department (or the RT Cave) were 95%.

"I know that sounds good," the RT boss said, "but that still means that 5% of the people are not happy with our services."

This is the kind of stuff we deal with at just about every meeting. Good is never good enough, as 95% is good. In essence, good is the new bad. To an idealist that might be a good thing. But to a realist like me it's simple insanity.

So at today's meeting I said, "You know what, Gary, that 5 percent are probably people who wouldn't be happy if you scratched their backs and picked their noses for them. We sit here and listen to you guys every month complain about really good performance reviews. Can we not find anything better to do?"

Of course then you get your political response, "It's always good to have a goal; to continue to strive for better."

"Yes, I know," I said, "and I think we all do that here. Everyone in this department gives 110 percent with every single patient. It's not just good, it's great to try to make things even better. I just think we can find better things to do with our time than deal with this stuff every month."

That was when my co-workers chimed in to back me up. Dale said, "Come on, Gary! Here we are doing stress tests, making people run on a treadmill until they're about to puke, and then we ask them, 'so what did you think of the stress test.' Well, some of them will simply say, 'it sucked.' Does that mean we provided a bad service. No! It means what we did wasn't any fun.

"We do ABGs," he continued. "We poke a patient where it ain't fun to be poked. And then we expect them to say, 'Excellent!' Come on! Let's get real here."

So the rest of the meeting played off this theme. Our intent was not to be negative or pessimistic, and I don't think we were. It was simply all of us RTs, who do all the work, who have to sit in these meetings every month, trying to make sense of why do we continue to do these performance surveys.

A similar session happened before and we were called complainers and whiners. I didn't say this yet I wanted to, so since this is my blog I'm going to write it here and pretend I said it to my boss: "There's an old saying: The truth hurts, and then it makes you better."


J. D'Urbano said...

I certainly relate to your post. We happen to have one of "those" bosses too - and to the extreme I might add. I wish I could share an answer with you but truthfully I don't have a solution. Blowing off a little steam here is indeed a good idea though. Everyone needs a SAFE place to blow off a little steam once in a while. I wish you well...

J. D'Urbano...

Rick Frea said...

It's a great department I work for, I just find the spin interesting.