RAS-ACS Symposium essays: Residents debate pros and cons of online patient rankings

Each year, the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) hosts a symposium at the Clinical Congress featuring a debate on a timely issue in surgical training or practice. The Issues Committee of the RAS-ACS solicits a list of topics from residents, fellows, and attending surgeons from across the country.

In addition to the symposium debate, the Issues Committee coordinates an essay competition open to all RAS members. The top “pro” and “con” essayists are invited to serve as panelists at the symposium, and the second-place pro and con essays are featured in the Bulletin. This year, the Issues Committee had a tie for second place in both categories.

Our topic for this year’s symposium and essay competition was Patient Rankings: Should Patient Feedback Affect Our Pay and Delivery of Care? The number of online websites that post patient feedback and reviews after surgeon encounters has exploded in recent years. Survey instruments, such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers Survey, request patient feedback on multiple aspects of hospitalizations and physician-patient interactions and will soon be tied to payment as part of health care reform.

What role do patient rankings play in improving care? Should existing methods for obtaining patient feedback (online, surveys, and so on) be tied to surgeon payment? These questions and others are addressed in the following essays.

Choosing a physician in the Yelp era

Patient rankings: Why patient feedback should affect our delivery of care but not our pay

Patient feedback makes us better surgeons

Legislated mints on the pillow

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