A US media organisation ProPublica, by reference to US Medicare data, has today published information on the adverse event rates of some 17,000 US surgeons.

It is interesting to note that 11 percent of surgeons accounted for about 25 percent of the recorded complications. The analysis focused on elective surgical procedures.

Individual variations were also noted, such as:

A surgeon with one of the nation’s highest complication rates for prostate removals in our analysis operates at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, a national powerhouse known for its research on patient safety. He alone had more complications than all 10 of his colleagues combined — though they performed nine times as many of the same procedures.

Although the methodology has been explained, risk adjustment questions will no doubt arise. 15 frequently asked questions are addressed which may allay some concerns.

The media organisation created an online tool, allowing for searches by surgeon’s name and by hospital.

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