Clinical report cards are at the centre of an escalating debate on ways in which the performance of hospitals and individual doctors can be monitored. Report cards are a method of publishing outcome data that can be focused on a particular hospital, clinical unit, or an individual doctor. Following the public disclosure of results of individual cardiac surgeons in New York State, USA, and the recent Inquiry into paediatric cardiac surgical deaths at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, UK, there is increasing focus on the possibility of the introduction of report cards in Australia. At present, the increasing momentum and implementation of report cards is focused squarely on surgeons, and particularly on cardiac surgeons. This review outlines the events in the USA and UK and looks into the possible impact of the introduction of report cards in Australia.