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Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2007 Mar;18(3):273-9. Epub 2006 Jun 28.

Outcome measures in urogynaecology: the clinicians' perspective.

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Department of Urogynaecology, Kings College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SE5 9RS, UK.


There is currently a paucity of information regarding clinicians' expectations of treatment and whether their perception of bothersome symptoms is similar to that of the patient. Equally there is often a dichotomy of opinion when comparing clinician-centered evaluation with that of patients. The objectives of this study were to determine clinicians' expectations following treatment, to assess the methods of outcome assessment used in the clinical and research settings, and to compare clinician's expectations with those of patients. This was a prospective postal questionnaire-based study sent to members of the International Continence Society (UK). The questionnaire asked about expectations following treatment and use of outcome measures. These results were also compared to those of an identical patient questionnaire that have previously been published. Tests of agreement were performed between clinicians and patients using Cohen's kappa statistic. Two hundred ninety-nine questionnaires were distributed with a response rate of 52.7%. Overall, 85.9% of responding clinicians felt a good improvement in urinary symptoms, so that they no longer interfered with quality of life, was a realistic outcome. The majority of clinicians thought that small or infrequent episodes of leakage were acceptable following treatment, although frequent or large leaks were not. Irritative urinary symptoms such as urgency and urge incontinence were felt to be less acceptable as were the symptoms of frequency and nocturia. Overall, there was found to be poor agreement between clinicians and patients attitudes to acceptability of symptoms with values of kappa ranging from -0.103 to 0.105, indicating that this agreement was no better than chance. In the research setting, 61% felt both subjective and objective outcome measures should be used, whereas in clinical practice, 42% thought subjective improvement alone, and 36% subjective improvement in QoL, were appropriate. Clinicians have realistic expectations following treatment, although there is poor agreement with those expectations expressed by patients. These findings may help to explain why patients may be disappointed regarding treatment outcomes and why there may be a difference between subjective clinical impression of success and patient satisfaction. In addition there is a lack of conformity in the use of outcome measures in both the clinical and research settings.

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