While physicians strive to set realistic expectations for patients undergoing knee and hip joint replacements, a new study reveals that doctor and patient expectations are sometimes not aligned. The study, reported by Hospital for Special Surgery researchers at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons held March 9-13 in New Orleans (poster P140), suggests that steps need to be taken to bridge the expectation gap.
This study is among the first to examine discrepancies in patient and physician expectation with joint replacement surgeries, according to Hassan Ghomrawi, Ph.D., MPH, outcomes research scientist, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, who led the study.
The two joint replacement surgeries studied are known technically as total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR). These procedures are common in individuals over 50 and usually result from normal wear and tear that causes osteoarthritis. At Hospital for Special Surgery alone, nearly 4,000 THRs and 4,000 TKRs are performed each year.
At HSS, patients are required to attend a 90 minute class before surgery where they receive education from a specialized nurse about what they can expect during the surgery and recovery. "A leader in offering such classes, HSS has been giving a preoperative class for many years. This practice is becoming a trend in big hospitals for this type of surgery," Dr. Ghomrawi said. The results from this study indicate that such classes could be refined and steps can be taken to use these classes to improve patient and physician dialogue.
In a study that compared expectations of 42 patients with their doctors through surveys, investigators found clinically meaningful disagreement in 68 percent of patients with 53 percent of the patients' expectations exceeding the expectations of the surgeons.
"The take home message for the surgeon is that inexpensive, educational interventi
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Hospital for Special Surgery