Currently, there are no meaningful, publicly available data for patients to use in assessing physician performance and quality, says Karl Bilimoria, MD, MS, director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center.at Northwestern Medicine, Chicago.
“In fact, the current data are more likely to mislead patients than to be informative,” Dr. Bilimoria, who wasn’t involved in the study, says by email.
Even at a time when many patients face steep, and sharply rising, out-of-pocket costs for their care, it’s still very hard for them to effectively comparison shop, says Anupam Jena, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
“Provider performance is a black box,” Dr. Jena, who wasn’t involved in the study, says by email.
“Outside of health care, there are many ways to assess the quality of things that we purchase, ranging from clothing, to electronics, to professional services,” Dr. Jena says. “Even within health care, we have a large amount of data on the comparative effectiveness of drugs, since this information is often mandated by the FDA, but we have very little information on how doctors compare to one another.”
- Li J, Das A, Chen LM. Assessing the quality of public reporting of U.S. physician performance. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 May 6. [Epub ahead of print]