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Use Caution When Looking at Surgeon Ratings, Kentucky Medical Association Says

Health
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A recently launched website, SurgeonRatings.org, lists surgeons who have been identified as having better than average outcomes based on an analysis of more than four million surgeries by more than 50,000 surgeons.

People can locate a surgeon for a specific surgery using their zip code. A list of surgeons will appear along with the surgeon's hospital, board certifications, outcomes and recommendations from other doctors.  The listings have been compiled by Consumers' CHECKBOOK/The Center for the Study of Services.

But people need to proceed with caution when using such websites, said Patrick Padgett, executive vice president at the Kentucky Medical Association.

"It's really difficult to know exactly what would be an accurate measurement because there are so many different websites and there's so many different ways of rating physicians," he said.

Padgett said websites that list physicians' performance are nothing new. He said various health plans have had ratings for members, and Medicare's Physician Compare tool have been available for a number of years.

He said people may receive different data depending on how and when the information was gathered.

"They need to see what data is actually being used. I think they need to see how old the data is and I think they need to, quite frankly, check more than one website," he said.