ANs and disclosure
(or lack thereof)
If you need AN surgery, you want to select the most experienced, best qualified surgeon. It is worth traveling to obtain the best treatment. But you cannot compare physician records without public disclosure. Currently, if the physician is proud of the record, you will be able to get it. If there is no record, or if the record is weak, you will not see it.
The collective record of all surgeons, compiled one by one, is incredibly useful to patients who need to make decisions. Once there is disclosure, physicians with good records will benefit. So will the newly diagnosed AN patients.
Already treated AN patients will benefit too. If your surgeon has left you with a handicap, most would want to put it behind you and go on. But some might want to learn whether this was an anomaly or an expected outcome.
When the patient's outcome is very poor, we all pay: our insurance goes up a bit. Statistics are critical to our insurance costs, as well as professional insurance of physicians. If you have AN surgery, there will be a file in the shared insurance pool that will codify and record the nature of your experience.
Statistics are kept by the medical community as well. The ANA sponsors a database of AN cases, similar to the one by the insurance folks. But only participating physicians can see that data; the patients are kept in the dark.
We need to help those that have not yet taken the AN path. If it was your kid, wouldn't you like him to know more? With today's software, there could be a simple spreadsheet that layed out the entire AN experience in a few megabytes, year by year, protocol by protocol, physician by physician.
The nation's physicians are our business, and their statistics should be as well.©
Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002