Surgeons around the country are now scored against their peers in a new statistic developed by a non-profit news organization that goes beyond hospital-level data, providing a never-before-available tool for consumers and generating debate and some angst in the surgical community.
Nearly 17,000 doctors performing low-risk, common elective procedures such as gallbladder removal and hip replacements are measured in the new calculation, which the non-profit news outlet
"It's long overdue," said Charles Mick, a spine surgeon in Massachusetts who advised on the project. "Consider baseball, if you're a batter but never knew if you hit the pitch, how could know you know if you're getting better?"
Not all surgeons will be happy seeing their names online with a higher-than-average complication rate — based on problems like infections, clots or sepsis that call for post-operative care. But the model also factors various risks a surgeon encounters, and adjusts the complication rates based on patients' ages, the quality of the hospital where the surgery took place, and other factors.