Doctors Do Better When Big Brother Is Watching

Doug Rex of Indiana University — one of the most respected gastroenterologists in the world — decided to use video recording to check the thoroughness of colonoscopies being performed by doctors in his practice.

After assessing 100 procedures, he announced to his partners that he would be timing and scoring the videos of their future procedures (even though he had already been doing this). Overnight, things changed radically. The average length of the procedures increased by 50%, and the quality scores by 30%. The doctors performed better when they knew someone was checking their work.

More on the use of videotapes to measure quality of care in the WSJ.

Comments (8)

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  1. Buster says:

    This doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  2. Ender says:

    So should there be a proposal to install cameras in all operating rooms?

  3. Alex says:

    I’m sure this would be the same with just about anyone doing just about anything.

  4. August says:

    Ender: Perhaps consumers could demand that their surgeries are monitored?

  5. seyyed says:

    the consumers should demand it as long as someone over the doctor’s head will agree to it and use it to evaluate the doctor

  6. Robert says:

    “This surgery may be recorded for quality control purposes.”

  7. Jordan says:

    “If medical mistakes were a disease, it would be the 6th leading cause of death in America.”


  8. Billy says:

    We could probably relate this to just about anything we do in our lifetime. At work, at school, at home, anywhere…As long as we have someone rating/judging our performance, we will always have an “incentive” to do our best…if you want to stay out of trouble of course..