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Friday, November 25, 2011

What health care can learn from sports

A new blog by Steven Lewis, Mark Wahba and Mary Smillie was launched in October, 2011, with the purpose of creating “a community of thinkers, writers and readers interested in exploring how health and medicine can learn from the development, use and application of statistical analyses in sports.”
The authors of “Meaningful Analogies in Sports and Health” (M.A.S.H.) were inspired by the Michael Lewis book, Moneyball (now a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt) – a chronicle of the Oakland A’s manager’s success in building his baseball team on a budget by using data. The blog operates on the premise that health care could be better if data as well as concepts from baseball and other sports were used to improve decision making and overall quality.

Interesting concepts are discussed, and new ways of thinking about evidence-based decision making are presented. Not only are the discussions relevant to those of us in health and health care policy, but are also often of interest to the public. For example, one post discusses performance measurement in figure skating, and shows how a former scoring system overvalued certain metrics, similar to the way certain health care performance measurements are undervalued.  

The best part is that the discussions make meaningful analogies to issues in sports, a topic more widely accessible to the public than the usual health care policy forums.

Susan Brien, Policy Lead, Health Council of Canada

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