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Reporting Bowel Surgeons’ Death Rates Did Not Lead to “Gaming”, Study Finds

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Fears that publishing bowel surgeons’ patient death rates would lead to risk averse practices or to exaggerating how ill their patients were to justify poor performance can be set aside, a study in The BMJ suggests. It found no evidence of any change in the proportion of patients in England having an elective major resection of the bowel since publication of results began, and death rates have fallen substantially, concluded a team from the Royal College of Surgeons, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and other UK centres. Publishing surgical data has strong professional backing on transparency grounds, but evidence that it improves outcomes was limited.

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