Originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald on July 7, 2012

‘KPIs’ have little relevance in managing our health system. There is an old saying that for every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong. The modern delusion that the creation of simple “key performance indicators” can solve complex problems like the management of the health system, the performance of our education system or the effectiveness of our police is a case in point. While it is inexcusable for a public servant to deliberately falsify records, it is inexplicable why politicians think that simplistic KPIs are a useful tool for guaranteeing service, especially after 20 years of evidence to the contrary.

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