Edward J. Schloss, MD reviews the recent controversy over ProPublica's recent sensationalized public reporting of administratively-collected surgical mortality and readmission data:
"Some have argued that it was important to get this data out for public review, despite it’s limitations. I respectfully disagree. I subscribe to the belief that bad data is worse than no data. Certainly the scientific literature is replete with examples that prove this correct.His analysis is a "must-read" for it speaks to many of the major flaws of using poorly collected and analyzed Big Data to improve medical care.
So is Surgeon Scorecard bad data? Strong words, but I say yes. This analysis was a great idea, but it fails to deliver on its goals. The data and methodology both have significant flaws. I say that from the perspective of a working clinician and clinical researcher with over 20 years experience, but I’d like to see a higher level of review. This project is as much science as it is journalism. Surgeon Scorecard should be peer reviewed and critically discussed as would any scientific outcomes study. As I suggested to ProPublica, we need to kick the tires."