Medical Profession Fighting Transparency Despite Patient Benefits

Medical Profession Fighting Transparency Despite Patient Benefits

Dr. Marty Makary, a cancer surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is aiming to reduce the over 9 million patients harmed or killed every year in the United States by medical mistakes. However, hospitals and medical professionals are often resistant to the solutions he suggests. Makary is the author of the recently published book, “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.” In it, he outlines how doctors and hospitals suppress objective data on how patients fare in their care. Makary argues for an end to the professional code of silence that often protects incompetent or careless medical practitioners and calls for hospitals to provide publicly accessible statistics on treatment outcomes to help people make informed treatment choices. Currently there is no mechanism in place in any U. S. state for a patient to find out a surgeon’s rate of complications, how many mistakes a hospital makes or almost any other data that may influence their treatment decisions.  What data is available to patients often reflects subjective values like a hospitals’ “reputation”  among specialists. Dr. Makary does note several models of medical transparency that show promise. Currently, California, New York and Oregon all require hospitals to report death rates from heart bypass surgery. The information has benefited patients; after New York made its data public in 1989, hospitals scrambled to improve and death rates from heart surgery fell 41 percent in four years.

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Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Reuters; September 27, 2012.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2012

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