Hospitals Looking at Volume & Less-Experienced Doctors

According to an article by PBS, three hospitals are launching an effort to reduce the number of surgeries by less-experienced doctors. This is partially done to reduce the number of patients treated unsuccessfully by inexperienced surgeons at smaller hospitals and the debated volume outcome battle.

A 1979 Stanford study, which has been replicated repeatedly, found that patients who underwent operations at hospitals that did more of those particular surgeries had significantly lower death rates than those treated at hospitals where they were done infrequently.

Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the University of Michigan have now pledged that they will require their surgeons and 20 affiliated hospitals to meet minimum annual thresholds for 10 high-risk procedures. The three systems have asked other hospital networks around the country to join them.

Many patients don’t know to ask a doctor about volume or outcomes or are unable to discover relevant information when choosing a surgeon or hospital. It’s important for patients to help protect themselves and take a much greater responsibility and interest in their care.

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