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Controversial online “scorecard” shows complication rates of 17 000 US surgeons

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3873 (Published 16 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3873
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

An analysis of the complication rates of nearly 17 000 US surgeons regarding eight elective procedures has been posted on the internet in a searchable database that allows patients to look up and compare individual physicians.

The database, called Surgeon Scorecard, was created by the investigative journalism organization ProPublica. The website went online on 13 July.1

To create the database Olga Pierce and Marshall Allen, two ProPublica reporters, analyzed Medicare billing data over the five years from 2009 through to 2013, focusing on eight common elective surgeries: knee replacements; hip replacements; three types of spinal fusions, one in the neck and two in the lower back; gall bladder removals; prostate removals; and prostate resections. The scorecard ranks individual surgeons as having a low, medium, or high risk of complications.

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