Publicising performance data on individual surgeons The ethical issues – policy implications

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  • Publicising performance data on individual surgeons The ethical issues – policy implications

An important development in health care, over the last 15 years, has been the publication of performance information on individual cardiac surgeons. This information has been publicly available in New York State and Pennsylvania for over a decade, and is being made available in the UK this year, in the wake of the Bristol Inquiry into paediatric cardiac surgery deaths at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. A considerable amount of empirical research has been carried out on aspects of the collection and release of surgeon-specific performance data, but there has so far been very little analysis of these developments from an ethical perspective. There are a number of ethical issues raised by the publication of this sort of information. These include issues of patient autonomy, informed consent and the comprehension of risk information, the effect of publication on the quality and on the distribution of surgical care, and the importance of transparency and accountability for surgical outcomes. This workshop will consider whether, in light of these considerations, making surgeon-specific performance information available to the public is ethically justified. The program also aims to consider whether Australia should adopt similar public disclosure processes in medicine. We are interested in papers that consider both the justifications for such proposals and the practicalities of implementing them. Papers will be presented that take bioethical, philosophical, sociological and practitioner points of view.

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Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

    ABN: 59 957 839 703
  • Location: 26 Balmain Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601
  • Postal: GPO Box 1956, Canberra, ACT 2601
  • +61 .2 62491788
  • +61 .2 62474335
  • secretariat@assa.edu.au

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