Healthcare News & Insights

New sites rank surgeons, hospital performance

Heads up: There’s even more scrutiny headed your hospital’s way for its performance in surgeries. Two new websites are reviewing and ranking surgeons based on their complication rates – and this may affect whether patients choose your hospital for certain procedures. 

The push to treat health care as a consumer purchase isn’t going away, even for serious surgeries.

In fact, an explicit goal of these two new sites is to allow patients to make informed decisions about where they’ll have certain procedures.

What each site offers

One site,, is rating surgeons across the country based on patient outcomes, according to a news release. The site was created by Consumers’ Checkbook/Center for the Study of Services, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people make sound financial decisions.

Areas the site is looking at include:

  • how many patients die either in the hospital or within 90 days of discharge
  • whether patients have serious complications in the hospital, and
  • if patients need to be readmitted within 90 days.

The site focuses specifically on 14 types of surgery, including heart valve and bypass surgery, major bowel surgery, pulmonary surgery, vascular surgery, hip and knee replacement surgery, and spine surgery.

While identifies surgeons who have better outcomes for these procedures than their counterparts, it doesn’t list those surgeons who perform at average levels or below.

Besides info about high-performing surgeons, the site also has data about their hospitals’ performance so potential patients can get the full picture behind the surgeons’ rankings.

Public journalism website ProPublica also released its own database ranking surgeons based on their performance, but unlike, it rates surgeons at all performance levels, from below-average to top performers.

ProPublica’s Surgeon Scorecard is designed to make patients more informed consumers, but it places a stronger focus on patient safety. The database contains info about death, readmission and complication rates for over 16,800 surgeons.

However, instead of focusing on 14 different procedures, the scorecard has a more narrow scope, providing ratings for surgeons performing one of eight elective procedures, including hip and knee replacements, laparoscopic gallbladder removal, cervical (neck) spinal fusion, prostate removal, prostate resection and lumbar spinal fusion (both posterior and anterior techniques).

Both sites got their data straight from the source: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The sites also adjusted their rankings based on factors such as the patients’ ages and the severity of their illnesses.

Hospitals’ response

With all this data readily available about surgical outcomes, surgical staff needs to be prepared to answer questions from curious patients – whether your surgeons appear on these lists or not. That way, you can clear up any confusion the ratings may cause.

The data can also be helpful for hospitals looking to establish performance benchmarks for their own surgeons.  After browsing the sites to see where your surgeons rank compared to others, the next step would be to do some additional research to see if any of the top performers are using techniques your facility can adapt to its own needs.

That’ll help you boost your own hospital’s performance – and as more payors refuse to reimburse hospitals for treating surgical complications, it could also help you protect your revenue.

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