A valuable tool just became available that allows patients to compare the complication rates of different hospitals and surgeons for different procedures. This tool is called the Surgeon Scorecard. The reviewed procedures are: knee replacement, hip replacement, neck fusion, low back fusion, gallbladder removal, prostate surgery.
The organization Pro Publica, with the aid of doctors, reviewed patients' Medicare records and calculated the death and complication rates for surgeons performing the above procedures. Importantly, the data was adjusted to reflect patient health, age, and hospital quality. It also included a helpful article that explains their methodology and limitations of the data.
For example, the study can tell you that at Northwest Hospital, the range of rates of complications for knee replacements for various surgeons are from 1.8% to 3.3%. This is a sizable difference.
The bottom line is this appears to be a helpful tool to help you make a decision about who will perform your next surgery, and where it will be performed.