Makary also speaks out about the need for hospitals to report data in standard ways so it is reliable and comparable. All too often, for quality indicators that are available for performance programs, "we just rely on hospitals to just send a number in, on their own good faith, using their own internal method of reporting that nobody has audited, with the exception of a few programs from the American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.
"And we've created a perverse incentive, which rewards hospitals that are less vigilant or poor at capturing their complications. So why do we think hospitals are uniformly applying aggressive standards to their reporting?"
For any other industry, he adds, "we have checks and balances."
Makary frequently travels to give talks about surgical improvement, performs pancreas surgeries three days a week, and has time for ambitious research projects and weekend golf.
"I love being a doctor," he says.