When you have a problem with your sink or your car, you probably read reviews and testimonials to find the best plumber or mechanic for the job. The experiences of other consumers are often more honest and edifying. So why has a field with as high a physical, financial, and even emotional risk as medicine yet to follow suit?
When deciding on where to have a medical procedure performed and by whom, patients such as yourself often have no information or resources about the hospital or surgeon. Despite the high costs associated with health care and the literal life-and death nature of surgery, the skills of many healthcare professionals remain largely unmeasured and unknown.
A recent study at the University of Michigan aimed to evaluate and rate the skill of 20 surgeons. Participants were videotaped performing gastric bypass surgeries on patients. A group of surgical evaluators then critiqued and ranked the surgeons based on their overall performance and technique.
After the rankings were complete, the group then examined the medical records of more than 10,000 patients of these same surgeons who had undergone the same procedure. The results showed that the patients of those surgeons deemed to be the best had the lowest rates of complications. Additionally, surgeons with the most advanced technical skills were also able to perform this complicated procedure in less time and with less risk to patients.
It seems unlikely that any reliable surgeon rating or ranking system will grow out of this study. It does, however, seem likely that consumers will continue to demand more information and transparency related to healthcare providers and their skills and reputations. This is especially the case when it comes to surgeons where the stakes are too high if a surgical error occurs.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury as the result of surgery or any other medical procedure, and you have any suspicion that your healthcare provider may be responsible, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at CHH today. We will fight to hold them accountable and set things right for you and your loved ones.
Source: Forbes, “How Good Are The Best Surgeons? A New Study Shows That Your Surgeon’s Skill Really Matters,” Steven Salzberg, Oct. 21, 2013