Patient safety should be the top priority of every hospital and medical professional. Unfortunately, it seems that when a procedure is not performed regularly by a surgeon the risk to their patient jumps significantly. For example, the national death rate from a knee replacement surgery is about 1 in 1000. Patients that have that surgery done at a hospital that does not regularly perform it are 3 times more likely to die than those that do perform it regularly.
A recent story on National Public Radio noted this issue and highlighted some positive steps a few of the countries leading teaching hospitals are taking to prevent these unnecessary risks to the safety of their patients.
According to the story U.S. News & World Report did an analysis of medicare data and found that low volume hospitals were putting their patients at risk by performing these surgeries. Especially since, in many cases, patients would be able to have their procedure done at a high-volume hospital by traveling an extra 30 or so minutes.
The U.S. News report was taken to heart by three of the nation's leading medical institutions, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Michigan. All three say that surgeons who do not routinely perform some complex, non emergency, surgeries will no longer be allowed to. Among the procedures listed are knee replacements, Hip replacements, bariatric surgery and some cancer and thoracic procedures.