The Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) plans to publish data about the performance of the Australian healthcare system. It is probably inevitable that this kind of information, which is actively disseminated and reported in such a way as to encourage readers to draw comparisons, will be used in the near future by the media, the public and politicians to make public judgements about the relative performance of individual hospitals or even individual doctors or groups of doctors. Initiatives such as these will therefore be perceived as a threat by some health professionals and some organisations. Would this negative response be justified? What might be gained from public disclosure and how can the policy be implemented successfully?
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