Effect of publicly reported surgical quality measures and outcomes

There has been a shift towards making quality data publicly available for patients to examine when choosing physicians.  A commentary by Burns et al. (2016) finds that there is mixed evidence regarding whether making surgery-related mortality data publicly available improves patient outcomes (see table below). Article Time Period Country Participants Key Findings Hannan 1994 1989-1992 US NY State cardiac…

Open Source Surgery

Currently, robot-assisted surgery today is dominated by the da Vinci Surgical System.  The device is highly regarded, but is heavy (weighs half a ton) and expensive ($1.8m).  Plus it uses proprietary software, which means that physicians and engineers not associated with da Vinci cannot alter its operating system. Change is on the horizon, however. “None…

MRIs, Back Surgery and Primary Care

Do MRIs increase the liklihood a patient receives back surgery? “Orthopedists and primary care physicians who begin billing for the performance of MRI procedures, rather than referring patients outside of their practice for MRI, appear to change their practice patterns such that they use more MRI for their patients with low back pain. These increases…

Economics 2.0: Are more experienced Heart Surgeons better?

According Economics 2.0’s review of Huckman and Pisano (2006): WIth each additional operation the surgeon preforms in a clinic, the mortality factor of his or her patients there drops by 0.018 percentage points.  When that doctor performs an operation in another clinic during the same three-month period, patients’ death rates decline by only 0.001.   Few heart surgeons are…