I love baseball statistics. I like knowing what Chipper Jones, the Atlanta Braves third baseman and future Hall of Famer, is hitting in day games on the road. I like knowing his batting average with runners on second base and less than two outs. I like knowing how many RBI's he has in the last 3 innings of baseball games this season and back in 1999. I like knowing his career batting average against the Chicago Cubs, against Cole Hamels the Phillies left-handed pitcher, in night games with runners on first base and third base and nobody out.
I like knowing this stuff for one main reason: the information is already available to me. Sit down and watch a baseball game (or be like me and watch about 10,000 of them) and you will be treated to a host of statistics like the ones above. You will never wonder about various pieces of information during a baseball game. Instead you may struggle to watch the game in spite of the running statistics before your eyes -- even the simplest of things that change: balls, strikes, outs, innings. The information is everywhere.
Healthcare's a different story. We get very few real-time statistics. We can't see our blood work results as soon as the blood is drawn. We can't go into a waiting room and know with much certainty when the doctor will see us. We can't find out how many times the surgeon has fixed a hernia, as well as find out the readmittance rate on patients he's operated on for hernias. And we can't find out how current the unseen clinical and technical systems are in a hospital, yet in contrast we can eat a fast food sandwich and while we're waiting, we can read the restaurant's health code rating posted on the wall.
All this information, so little time.
Yes it's true, we can find out our blood pressure, our weight, and our pulse. Simple things. But the complex health data does not come at us very quickly or often. So how about a quick pass at something simple?
Let's look at the ratio between full-time employees at hospitals, and the number of staffed beds in hospitals. Generally speaking, the more staffed beds, the more employees. Stands to reason right? More beds, more patients, more caregivers.
Here's the ratio of FTE's to staffed beds for over 5,000 hospitals in the U.S. (using data from HIMSS Analytics):
|Avg Staffed Beds
||Ratio FTE to Staffed Beds
I'm not sure yet that this means anything, but I know it's interesting, and one way we learn more on data is to start looking at it.