DATA REPORTING: Physician Collaborates With State Project
This month's California Physician profiles Dr. Joseph Carey, founder of the California Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Carey formed the group in 1996 to ensure that doctors had more influence in a state-mandated outcomes-measurement edict that many doctors "perceived as threatening." Carey's group joined the data collection project conducted by the state's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH). By persuading the OSHPD/PBGH to make the first report confidential, Carey was able to convince 100 out of 120 hospitals to join the project -- up from the 25 to 30 that were originally willing to come aboard. After the hospitals have a chance to evaluate the reporting program, the data will be made public in June. The OSHPD/PBGH mortality rates for coronary bypass surgery will be posted on the Internet, but Carey says his group will also post all California and national thoracic data so they can be compared with the state data. "We think it's very important to have multiple sources of information and multiple ways of verifying the data," he said. "The OSHPD/PBGH project and the national Society of Thoracic Surgeons are independently looking at the risk-stratification calculation to risk-adjust the mortality rates and are sharing and comparing the data with each other," Carey explained. Carey's group will post the data on its Web site, www.casts.org. "We hope that our Web site will draw together all sources so patients can go there, get the data, and ask their doctors about what they don't understand" (Beall, Dec. issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.