When Good intentions go bad

In his book, Breaking Bad Habits: Defy Industry Norms and Reinvigorate Your Business, author Frank Vermeulen cites a case where the good intentions of the government actually fell flat on its face.

The UK government had mandated all IVF clinics to publish their success rates which went up on a Government website. People then started treating this database as a ranking. The website was the government's good intention to implement transparency to empower patients and help them in decision making.

What the government failed to factor in was that a clinic's success rate wasn't just dependent on their competency but also affected by the quality of the women. Younger women would probably have a higher chance of getting pregnant over someone who is 40 plus.

However, what this resulted in was that clinic's started favoring patients who were most likely to get pregnant and rejected difficult cases. On the other hand, clinics who had expertise in treating difficult cases would have lower success rates but would also have women rejecting them because of their poor ranking.


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