Medicine has a lot to learn from 'football' about developing new approaches to clinical methods says new research.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, says football is better at recognising underlying factors that can affect performance, including a single player's attitude, a muddy pitch, injuries and the impact of a hostile crowd.
Lead author, Professor Alexander Clark from the University of Alberta says football is better at measuring what matters most, adding that the NHS could benefit from some of the skills deployed by top football managers.
"The best managers can take people and help them perform above themselves. That's what the NHS needs," the BBC quoted Clark, as saying.
According to the report, Clark makes the point by comparing some of his own characteristics with those of the footballing legend Lionel Messi. Both have brown hair, a dominant right foot and short stature.
However, he acknowledges that close observation, informed assessment and knowing the context of their successes lead one quickly to conclude that the attacking Argentine midfielder is "infinitely preferable", the report said.
He suggests that too often this analytical approach is missing from the field of healthcare interventions, which he says has a tendency to focus on what is easily described rather than what matters most, the report added.
The paper also argues that other lessons for healthcare include a willingness to recognise and learn from failure, and exploring in detail not just whether team tactics - or medical treatment - work, but why, the report conclued.