Someone to Watch Over Me

September 25, 2012

By Tom Branna
Editorial Director

With the Presidential election nearly upon us here in the States, there’s been lots of talk of the role of the Federal Government in citizens’ everyday life. Certainly the Republican charges of Big Brother syndrome resonate with many Americans. But a recent article in The Wall Street Journal notes that sometimes, a little bit of authoritarianism can be a good thing. In his article, “How to Stop Hospitals from Killing Us,” author (and MD) Marty Makary notes that there are 98,000 deaths caused by medical errors in the US each year. But when steps are taken such as regular reviews, performance ratings, camera installations to record offenders, even restroom signage—think something like “all employees must wash their hands”—can improve doctor and hospital performance, according to Makary. Even better, an online hospital rating system would enable patients to figure out which hospital is more likely to kill them *before they are admitted. Not only that, imagine how sales of hand sanitizers and I&I cleaners would soar with such a system in place?

Then the thought came to me, what if I was graded and berated (or rewarded) based on the number of typos in an issue, the proclivity of dangling participles, the missed deadlines—the list goes on and on. Taking it a step further, what if sales reps were judged by their sins of omission as well as commission; i.e., not only the number of sales that weren’t closed, but also the number of phone calls and sales calls never made or the emails that were never followed up on? The same idea could be employed throughout the publishing process to include circulation, production, etc. Of course, here at Rodman Publishing and in most places, bad apples ultimately are weeded out slowly, one by one. But if a system were in place to identify offenders before bad habits set in, imagine just how productive we all would be? Maybe there are benefits to having someone to watch over me.

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