July 29, 2015 – Assessing Quality


Anchor lead:  Are physician quality measurements really helpful? Elizabeth Tracey reports

A new surgeon rating system has just been announced by Pro Publica, an investigative journalism group.  The rating system is intended to inform consumers on how well their surgeon stacks up against others in the nation.  Robert Higgins, director of surgery at Johns Hopkins, says the shear number of these new rating systems is dizzying.

Higgins: I think it’s information overload.  I can’t keep track of many of these measures of quality.  The science of quality is still evolving while the intent is clear.  And if we can get the two to line up, the intent is to save pain, suffering and to save lives, and we can match up the methodology and the measurement, and then report it accurately then I think we’ll really raise the bar on patient performance and everybody will be happier.  :24

Higgins applauds efforts to provide safety data to patients to help inform their decisions, but cautions that another critical factor is the team that is providing care both during and after the operation.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.