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Death Rates for Massachusetts Doctors?

Massachusetts is considering whether to publicize patient death rates for individual physicians who perform bypass surgery and angioplasty, reports the Boston Globe. This is in keeping with a movement toward more transparency and accountability in the healthcare system. Some have argued that the system's reward structure needs to become more based on outcomes.

But opponents are concerned whether the publicity would cause doctors to turn away high-risk patients or shy away from using new, unfamiliar technologies. Perhaps if the reporting were done in the appropriate context -- showing who used what procedures on what types of patients -- it could be beneficial. But a simple count of deaths would be misleading and might impede the willingness to try new innovations.  

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