Calling it "teaching to the test" or ...
John Goodman asks the question "Does measuring quality actually decrease quality?". See here for his recent blog entry.
Charles Goodhart, a British economist put it this way in 1975:
Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes
In other words, a measurement when used as a target looses its value as a measure.
This basic notion was expressed about the same time by a sociologist, Donald Campbell, who said :
"The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor."
A poster child for this phenomenon in the context of quality measures in medicine is the absurd 4-hour pneumonia rule.I have blogged about that before.
When the incentive for ED staff was to get the antibiotics to pneumonia patients within 4 hours, because that was established as a quality measure, distortion and corruption emerged in the form of giving less prompt attention to non-pneumonia suspects and treating folks who really didn't have pneumonia with antibiotics.
From Goodman's post:
Quality measures also degrade quality by distorting behavior.
Dr. Douglas Perednia had a great discussion of this topic here.