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June 15, 2011

Surveillance Bias in Outcomes Reporting

JAMA. 2011;305(23):2462-2463. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.822

The prevalence and extent of public reporting of adverse medical outcomes are increasing. Many private, public, and government Web sites rank hospitals and report scores on selected quality measures. Health care consumers, including referring physicians, individual patients, and insurers, can use these data to inform decision making by selecting hospitals with better outcomes. However, the science of outcome reporting is young and lags behind the desires of the public in this information age. Reporting quality measures may have benefits but also may pose risks from unintended consequences.1