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Med Care. 1995 Apr;33(4 Suppl):AS226-35.

Measuring the success of treatment in patient terms.

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  • 1Center for Outcomes Research and Education, Sisters of Providence Health System in Oregon, Portland 97225, USA.


Measuring the success of major surgeries such as total hip and total knee replacement is important for both case selection and public policy. Patients, purchasers, and practitioners must choose among clinical scoring systems, health status measures, and patient satisfaction ratings to monitor performance and ensure appropriate use of costly procedures. The present study compares results from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Status Survey and clinical scoring systems to direct patient ratings of success. Data come from a study of 128 total knee-replacement procedure and 211 total hip replacements. Analyses indicate that for both hip and knee patients, success is related closely to posttreatment physical function and bodily pain. Patient ratings of success also are related to the clinical scores used by physicians. Success is related less to change from pretreatment function for knee patients than for hip patients. Although patient ratings of success are generally consistent with other outcome measures, their relationship to patient expectations, satisfaction, and attributions need to be understood before they can become a useful tool for performance monitoring and case selection.

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