Why patients would be wise to check these websites before undergoing surgery

When presented with several options, most people likely do a fair amount of research prior to making a major or costly decision like buying a car or hiring a contractor to complete a kitchen remodeling project. However, when it comes to one’s health and potentially one’s life, few patients research their options with regard to surgical procedures and surgeons.

Two websites that were recently launched provide statistical data on the surgical outcomes of nearly 67,000 U.S. surgeons. Checkbook.org was developed by the nonprofit Consumers’ Checkbook/Center for the Study of Services and provides ratings based upon the number of patients who, after having a specific procedure performed by a specific surgeon, experienced death, serious complications or hospital readmittence within 90 days.

Individuals who are eager to learn how their own or a loved one’s surgeon compares to other surgeons in a geographical area who perform the same surgical procedures can compare the doctors’ records to discover basic information with regard to rates of bad outcomes including deaths, volume of surgeries performed, medical school attended and board certifications.

While the checkbook.org website only includes information about high-performing and recommended surgeons, another website launched by the nonprofit ProPublica, provides information about both high and low-performing surgeons.

Through the nonprofit’s projects.propublica.org/surgeons/ website, individuals are able to view how many times a surgeon has performed a specific procedure and discover his or her surgical complication rate for that procedure.

While both websites contain important disclaimers with regard to how statistical data is collected, reviewed and scored; both are among the first of their kind to provide healthcare consumers with this type of important information.

In past decades, most healthcare consumers didn’t even think to inquire about a surgeon’s experience and success rate. Today, through technological advancements, much of this information exists and increasingly, consumers are demanding it.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, “New sites allow patients to compare surgeons based on outcomes, complication rates,” July 14, 2015

By | August 6th, 2015|Medical Malpractice|Comments Off on Why patients would be wise to check these websites before undergoing surgery