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Physician flunks ProPublica’s Surgeon Scorecard

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John M. Mandrola, M.D., a cardiologist, flunks ProPublica’s Surgeon Scorecard. He writes in Medscape:

“Some experts are (rightly) frustrated by the fact that an average person cannot determine the skills of their doctor. They argue that the Surgeon Scorecard is a first step towards transparency and meritocracy. I say it is a step backwards. Misleading people is a greater sin. Bad data are worse than no data.

“It’s much harder to undo bad information than it is to provide good information. In my opinion, uncertainty is better than a false sense of certainty. The scariest doctors are those who don’t know what they don’t know.

“We should also be mindful of the urge to approach terrible problems with the do-something-anything mindset. I see an analogy here to the patient with advanced cancer. Doctors desperately want to help. Fearful patients desire action; they have their guard down. That precarious scenario allows both parties to sanction the use of ineffective, costly, and toxic treatments. The patient still dies, only now he suffers a bad death. The intent was good, the people were good. But that’s not enough for success in healthcare….”

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