How to Compare the Appropriateness of Potential ATJ Indicators

David Udell has challenged me to identify, from the recent indicators report, some of the “best indicators.”  Before I even think about doing that, I have tried to identify eleven criteria for a perfect indicator.

  1. The data is already being collected, even if not yet being processed and compared.
  2. There is a strong intuitive relationship between the indicator and the results/outcomes that we really care about.
  3. It is an indicator that will be sensitive to differences among subgroups under study.
  4. It it can be used to compare results in broadly different environments.
  5. It leads relatively easily to policy and management prescriptions.
  6. It is relatively cheap and easy to collect.
  7. It has broad legitimacy among multiple groups such as funders, providers, service recipients and the public, and it is not perceived as being too related to a particular institutional or other agenda.
  8. It is not too easily subject to being gamed.
  9. It is quantitative and subject to actual measurement and analysis.
  10. It aligns well with other actual or suggested measures, acting as a proxy for them.
  11. It, together only with a very small number of other indicators, provides a reliable overall view of the functioning of the system from all points of view and reflecting the needs of constituencies.

I would encourage those with really specific knowledge of their substantive areas to work together to identify five or so measures within that area that might do a better job of meeting those criteria, with the hope that together those five would meet the criteria in number 11.

Suggestions for improvements in this list would b much appreciated, including any ideas on how to get the list down to ten.  (I assume that everyone knows the story about Moses coming down from Mount Sinai, and announcing:   “First the good news, I got him down to ten.  Now the bad news, adultery is still on the list.“)

Take care.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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