Validating sunk costs


UKAS commissioned an independent market research company to assess its success in prompting awareness of accreditation.  It’s a poor survey that falls well short of the standards that would be required in medical research, yet pathology is making itself subservient to UKAS assessment.

Just over half of respondents were now able to define accreditation successfully:


Yet substantially greater numbers think accreditation is important than understand what it is:

Can you trust these respondents’ judgement? The how sectors break down between the two questions is not explained.  Obviously regulators are keenest of all on accreditation:

Lots of regulators insist on discriminating against suppliers who don’t pay the accreditation tax to be inspected.  But other sectors function just fine assessing quality in more meaningful ways.
72% of respondents (some of whom cannot adequately define accreditation) agree with UKAS that accreditation brings benefits.

There are no figures to show whether they are correct in their assessment.  What use is airy-fairy confidence that is not backed by figures?

If the questions had been phrased in the negative would the results be consistent with those presented?  Or is BIS just wasting taxpayers’ money on badly-done marketing disguised as market research?

Why is increased consistency not measured objectively with confidence limits as the UKAS assessors would require of any measurement businesses they inspect?

Why can decreased risk not be quantified?  Is is just a suspicion?

Why do UKAS’s victim organizations accept this double standard?

Without objective figures, how can we know whether there is any substance in the findings of this survey?  Are the respondents just saying what they think they’re expected to say?  Like other surveys that report the benefits of accreditation, this one is suspiciously short on anything sufficiently measurable that it might be true.

Surveys commissioned to support ISO management standards are either PR drivel or, occasionally, self-congratulatory papers by scientists who have put an enormous amount of work into achieving accreditation and are desperate to prove it was not wasted.

The sunk costs fallacy triumphs over properly-designed experiments and stringent statistical tests.

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This entry was posted in Economics, Laboratory medicine, Management, NHS, Questions, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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