Patients have another searchable online tool for choosing a physician, this one reporting complication rates for eight elective surgical procedures by individual physician.
ProPublica, an investigative news organization that has analyzed other aspects of medical practice, posted its Surgeon Scorecard with complication rates for almost 17,000 surgeons on July 13. The data are based on Medicare billing records. An accompanying news article reported that overall complication rates, based on hospital readmissions within 30 days of the surgery and death during the initial stay, ranged from 2% to 4% during the 5-year study period. Remarkably, almost 800 surgeons who performed at least 50 procedures had no complications to their name, proof that their colleagues have room for improvement, ProPublica said.