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Dartmouth Atlas Finds Vast Regional Differences in Medicare-Backed Elective Surgery Rates

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 24, 2011

As a result, Medicare patients living in Casper, WY are nearly six times more likely to undergo back surgery than patients living in the Bronx, NY.

?Some of the most important choices in medicine are not the clinician?s alone to make. Patient preference is especially important when facing a test, surgery or treatment that is elective. In order to ensure that patients get the treatment that is right for them, the choice should be a shared decision. When done right, shared decision-making results in a better decision: a personalized choice based on both the best scientific evidence and the patient?s values,? says Michael J. Barry, MD, report co-author and president of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

The Dartmouth Atlas Project is located at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical

Practice and principally funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Click here for the full report, Improving Patient Decision-Making in Health Care: A 2011 Dartmouth Atlas Report Highlighting Minnesota.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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1 comments on "Elective Surgery Rates Vary Greatly by Region"


Stefani (2/27/2011 at 5:56 PM)
This is not new news! Jack Wennberg MD began his work by demonstrating that VT children underwent tonsillectomies in the 1970s based on where they lived and the training of the local surgeons....not because of need. Nothing has changed has it?