Hospitals will be publicly rated by patients' reports of their care before the end of the year.
The Department of Health today said patient reported outcomes data would be ready for publication on the NHS Choices website in nine months.
From April, providers will have to ask all patients undergoing hip replacements, knee replacements, groin hernia surgery and varicose vein surgery - an estimated 250,000 in the first year - to complete questionnaires before their treatment.
Post-operative questionnaires, to assess the success of the procedure, will be sent out by a contractor.
Health minister Lord Darzi set out proposals for the routine collection of patient reported outcome measures in the next stage review final report, High Quality Care for All.
He said in a statement: "While a surgeon may judge a hip replacement successful because the procedure has been performed perfectly on the day, the patient will rightly disagree if they are still in pain and continue to have a poor quality of life six months down the line.
"The beauty of PROMs is that it measures the success of operations as reported by patients themselves.
"This programme is the first of its kind in the world and the information collected will empower patients to choose a hospital that achieves the best results for the operation they need.
"It will also strengthen commissioning across the NHS by offering PCTs the evidence they need to buy the best services based on patient experiences.
"What's more, routine collection of PROMs will enable clinical teams to benchmark their performance and research the success of different treatment options."
The DH, which has issued guidance to providers on collecting PROMS, said robust, comparable data, adjusted for case mix, was expected to be available within nine months for groin hernia and varicose vein, and a year for the orthopaedic procedures.
Contacts are being finalised with Northgate Information Solutions to administrate the PROMs data and with Market and Opinion Research International for analysis of the results.
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