Consumerism Advocates Examine Quality, Access, and More

They find that surgeons have their own way of thinking about quality

Every patient deserves simple access to quality care. But what is quality?

In Back to the Future, Volume as a Quality Metric, Harvard professor Ashish Jha, M.D., M.P.H. argues that surgical quality is more subtle than can be captured by simplistic quantitative measures. Ask any surgeon and he'll tell you the same: quality is as elusive as it is important. 

So what is a consumer to do? It would appear that, for the moment, there are no readily available, validated tools that would permit a patient to objectively know the relative quality of his would-be surgeon choices. For example, the surgery risk calculator published by the American College of Surgeons measures the patient's risks at surgery but says nothing about which surgeon to use. 

On the other hand, there are good data to show that surgeons are good at detecting quality among their peers. For example, in Surgical Skills and Complication Rates After Bariatric Surgery, the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative found that peer ratings correlate well with reoperation, readmission, and other surgical quality measures. This means that surgeons can detect quality, help each other improve quality, and help patients to get quality.

So what does all this mean for you? Healthcare consumer advocates Doug Field and Andrew Dietz, of the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism, set off to find out how Surgeo®, an online interactive market, applies the unique wisdom of surgeons to design and delivery of surgery packages. In their conversation with Arnon Krongrad, MD, who oversees network development for Surgeo, they discuss:

  • how surgeons think about surgical quality
  • why surgeon peer credentialing matters
  • how to simplify consumer access
  • how care is paid for

Click on the video above to hear the conversation. Visit our blog for more content on surgical quality.

Posted on Sep 16, 2015