Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Should Individual Performance Reviews Be Made Public?

This opinion piece posted on the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism site made me think about a similar debate being carried out in healthcare

I think its become more "accepted" that physician and hospital ratings will be posted publicly, but what the content of those should be is still a matter of fierce debate. How much transparency is appropriate?

I think asking the question from the perspective of the average citizen makes it more poignant - "would you want your work performance to be publicly posted?" Advocates of privacy decry any advertent or inadvertent posting of personal data, however, what could be more personal than job performance?

Perhaps the issue here is that these are government employees? But most physicians are not government employees - should only the profiles of the ones hired by the VA be posted publicly? And then, as the article states, why shouldn't we have publicly posted profiles of highway engineers, postal workers, politicians?

Is the issue that medical (and education) professionals require more oversight and transparency? Its hard to argue that posting profiles for other professionals - politicians, bankers, lawyers, etc. - would not lead to greater accountability in those fields as well. The true power of the market could really be exerted then as the public could "vote with their feet" and support those professionals whose work was positively reviewed.

In this age of technology, social media, and consumerism, the demand for public reporting in general seems to only be increasing. And its hard to argue that it overall hasn't had a beneficial effect for the consumer along the lines of: more information = consumer empowerment = better decision-making = better outcomes. However rating an organization such as a restaurant or hotel, or rating a commodity such as a car, book, or technology, are fundamentally different functions than rating an individual - even if he be a professional. The public posting of the same has a level of invasiveness that would make many of us likely to recoil.

I'm generally a staunch advocate for public reporting of data, but public reporting of ratings for individuals seems to be crossing some ethical and intellectual lines. What is the rationale that makes it appropriate? 

1 comment:

  1. I think review would be useless if not shown to people. The purpose of review is to tell people what is better or good in terms of category or performance.