What would Winnie-the-Pooh do?


Gary Doern begins his Journal of Clinical Microbiology editorial, The Value of Outcomes Data in the Practice of Clinical Microbiology, with a quotation from Pooh:

“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit. “No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.” — A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926.

He proceeds to question the advance of methods and precision without knowing if they have improved patients’ outcomes.

“We have been content to accept analytical precision as a justification for adopting new technologies.

“With this editorial, I would make a plea that going forward, clinical microbiologists begin to embrace the importance of data which establish the true clinical impact of what we do in the laboratory as the ultimate measure of the utility of new technologies. This will require the performance of objective, systematic, controlled clinical outcomes studies, the results of which must then be published in the peer-reviewed literature.”

And how much worse than this is ISO accreditation of laboratory management?  Outcomes matter little; the process of inspection is the prime directive.  The patients don’t matter, the lab staff don’t matter, the doctors don’t matter; all that matters is that inspection continues and is never proven to be useless.

Science is lost in the 100 Aker Wood. Help it find its way out.

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