When preparing to schedule a surgery, how do you pick your surgeon? Do you rely on advice from a relative, friend, or family doctor? Or maybe you have done research on local hospitals and the rates of infections and complications. If you haven’t had to prepare for an elective surgery in the past, you might be faced with doing so in the future.
ProPublica, a non-profit news organization, recently released a never-before-available tool for consumers that provides them access to check their surgeons’ individual record pertaining to elective surgeries such as hip and knee replacements. Each surgeon is given a scorecard that reflects the type of surgery, the number of cases performed, and the complication rate. Propublica used Medicare data from 2009 to 2013 to generate nearly 17,000 scorecards for surgeons nationwide.
Dr. Anthony Carter, orthopaedic surgeon with HROSM, was recently interviewed by the Daily Press to provide his feedback on this new data. In his interview he stated that, “It’s a good starting point. It gives an idea of numbers. It gives an overall picture, which is reasonable.” Carter’s scorecard shows that he has performed more than 653 knee replacements and 751 hip replacements, more than any other orthopaedic surgeon in the region. More importantly was Carters complication rate which was the lowest recorded in the region for hip and knee replacements. ProPublica data reports his complication rate was at 1.5% for knee replacements and 1.6% for hip replacements.
Why is this data important? How is this useful for the consumer, the general public? Overall, Dr. Carter believes that this is a good starting point, a good tool to use for a baseline. Experience really does matter. The more cases a surgeon performs the better he or she becomes with each surgery, with each patient. Here are a few questions to consider asking your surgeon prior to scheduling surgery:
- How often do you perform this procedure?
- Does your surgeon specialize in the type of surgery you need.
- Is there a minimally invasive alternative?
- Are there any options available to me besides surgery?
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our office at 873-1554 or request an appointment online.