Comparative Reports on Surgical Care

The following reports are examples of comparative information on the quality of surgical care by individual surgeons and surgeon groups.

Report Title: Surgeon Scorecard

Web Site: Accessed November 20, 2015.

Subject: Surgeons and hospitals

Developer: ProPublica

Sponsor Type: Private news organization

Location: United States

Synopsis: Surgeon Scorecard is a searchable report on the performance of surgeons across the United States. The Web site has information on complication rates for more than 17,000 surgeons who performed common elective procedures—such as gallbladder removal, prostate removals and prostate resections, spinal fusions, and knee and hip replacements—on Medicare patients over a 5-year period. Surgeon Scorecard uses two measures to identify harm to elective surgical patients: in-hospital mortality and readmission within 30 days of discharge with a diagnosis identified by experts as a likely complication of surgery. The Web site reports on the number of times a surgeon has performed a procedure, the number of complications, and the complication rate. A surgeon’s reported score includes his or her performance at all hospitals at which he or she operates, with a list of the hospitals’ names.

Report Title: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database Public Reporting

Web Site: Accessed December 28, 2015.

Subject: Cardiothoracic surgery groups and hospital-based cardiothoracic departments

Developer: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)

Developer Type: Professional association

Location: United States

Synopsis: STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD) is the largest clinical registry in North America that enables cardiothoracic surgeons and hospitals to voluntarily report scores for congenital heart surgery. The Database contains more than 275,000 congenital heart surgery procedure records and currently has more than 650 participating physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists. Star rating for hospitals are based on the overall observed-to-expected operative mortality ratio for all patients undergoing pediatric and/or congenital cardiac surgery. STS uses a method called STAT Mortality Categories, which compares the mortality rates between programs by difficulty of the operation. Operations are divided into 5 categories, one to five in order of increasing difficulty.

Report Title:  Adult Cardiac Surgery in New York State

Web Site: Accessed December 9, 2015.

Subject: Cardiac surgeons and hospitals

Developer:  New York Department of Health

Developer Type: State agency

Location:  New York

Synopsis: This report includes mortality and readmission rates after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and valve repair or replacement surgery, and preliminary information on transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in non-federal New York State (NYS) hospitals. The report looks at the performance of cardiologists who performed at least 200 cardiac surgeries during the reporting period. Cardiologists who performed fewer than 200 cardiac surgeries but at least one per year during the reporting period are grouped together in the hospital in which the procedure was performed.

Report Title: Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) Public Reports

Web site:

Subject: Surgeons and hospitals

Developer: Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council

Sponsor Type: State agency

Location: Pennsylvania and Delaware

Synopsis: The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) publishes a number of reports on the quality and cost of cardiac surgeries (including pediatric and congenital heart surgery), knee and hip replacements, and orthopedic surgeries performed in hospitals in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Although not all of these reports are current, they offer useful illustrations of comparative information on the quality of surgical care by surgeons and hospitals.

The PHC4 reports on coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery displays quality scores for the volume of patients, readmission rates, and inpatient mortality rates of individual surgeons. Symbols are used to indicate whether the surgeon’s rate was higher, lower, or the same as the expected rate. Additional information reported for hospitals includes hospital charges and average Medicare payments. Hospitals and surgeons are given an opportunity to submit comments regarding their data.

Page last reviewed December 2016
Page originally created December 2016
Internet Citation: Comparative Reports on Surgical Care. Content last reviewed December 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.