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Am J Manag Care. 2017 Oct;23(10):618-622.

Use of patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction for quality assessments.

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University of Washington, 1107 NE 45th St, Ste 502, Box 354808, Seattle, WA 98195. E-mail:



Recent focus on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) has created a new challenge as we learn how to integrate these outcomes into practice along with other quality metrics. We investigated the relationship between PROs and satisfaction among spine surgery patients. We hypothesized that there would be significant disparities between patient satisfaction and PROs at the 1-year postoperative time point.


Retrospective cohort study of adults undergoing elective lumbar spine surgery at 12 hospitals participating in the Spine Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program.


Satisfaction, pain, and function scores were collected at 1 year post operation, along with clinical information, to determine the relationship between PROs and satisfaction at the patient level.


Among 520 patients (mean age = 63 ± 13 years; 47% male), the majority of patients (82%) reported being satisfied with surgery. Satisfaction was associated with both improvement in pain (odds ratio [OR], 1.33; 95% CI, 1.17-1.51) and function (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04-1.08). However, even among patients who did not improve in pain or function, more than half (59%) reported being satisfied.


Overall, patients undergoing elective lumbar spine surgery reported being satisfied with outcomes, but the reported responses in PROs were much more variable. As the expectations increase to include PRO measures as valid quality indicators, it is necessary to dedicate time and consideration to understanding the relationships among these measures to support meaningful translations into healthcare policy.

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