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1.  Unstated factors in orthopaedic decision-making: a qualitative study 
Total joint replacement (TJR) of the hip or knee for osteoarthritis is among the most common elective surgical procedures. There is some inequity in provision of TJR. How decisions are made about who will have surgery may contribute to disparities in provision. The model of shared decision-making between patients and clinicians is advocated as an ideal by national bodies and guidelines. However, we do not know what happens within orthopaedic practice and whether this reflects the shared model. Our study examined how decisions are made about TJR in orthopaedic consultations.
The study used a qualitative research design comprising semi-structured interviews and observations. Participants were recruited from three hospital sites and provided their time free of charge. Seven clinicians involved in decision-making about TJR were approached to take part in the study, and six agreed to do so. Seventy-seven patients due to see these clinicians about TJR were approached to take part and 26 agreed to do so. The patients' outpatient appointments ('consultations') were observed and audio-recorded. Subsequent interviews with patients and clinicians examined decisions that were made at the appointments. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Clinical and lifestyle factors were central components of the decision-making process. In addition, the roles that patients assigned to clinicians were key, as were communication styles. Patients saw clinicians as occupying expert roles and they deferred to clinicians' expertise. There was evidence that patients modified their behaviour within consultations to complement that of clinicians. Clinicians acknowledged the complexity of decision-making and provided descriptions of their own decision-making and communication styles. Patients and clinicians were aware of the use of clinical and lifestyle factors in decision-making and agreed in their description of clinicians' styles. Decisions were usually reached during consultations, but patients and clinicians sometimes said that treatment decisions had been made beforehand. Some patients expressed surprise about the decisions made in their consultations, but this did not necessarily imply dissatisfaction.
The way in which roles and communication are played out in decision-making for TJR may affect the opportunity for shared decisions. This may contribute to variation in the provision of TJR. Making the importance of these factors explicit and highlighting the existence of patients' 'surprise' about consultation outcomes could empower patients within the decision-making process and enhance communication in orthopaedic consultations.
PMCID: PMC2954986  PMID: 20849636
2.  Patient, surgeon, and healthcare purchaser views on the use of decision and communication aids in orthopaedic surgery: a mixed methods study 
Despite evidence that decision and communication aids are effective for enhancing the quality of preference-sensitive decisions, their adoption in the field of orthopaedic surgery has been limited. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to evaluate the perceived value of decision and communication aids among different healthcare stakeholders.
Patients with hip or knee arthritis, orthopaedic surgeons who perform hip and knee replacement procedures, and a group of large, self-insured employers (healthcare purchasers) were surveyed regarding their views on the value of decision and communication aids in orthopaedics. Patients with hip or knee arthritis who participated in a randomized controlled trial involving decision and communication aids were asked to complete an online survey about what was most and least beneficial about each of the tools they used, the ideal mode of administration of these tools and services, and their interest in receiving comparable materials and services in the future. A subset of these patients were invited to participate in a telephone interview, where there were asked to rank and attribute a monetary value to the interventions. These interviews were analyzed using a qualitative and mixed methods analysis software. Members of the American Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) were surveyed on their perceptions and usage of decision and communication aids in orthopaedic practice. Healthcare purchasers were interviewed about their perspectives on patient-oriented decision support.
All stakeholders saw value in decision and communication aids, with the major barrier to implementation being cost. Both patients and surgeons would be willing to bear at least part of the cost of implementing these tools, while employers felt health plans should be responsible for shouldering the costs.
Decision and communication aids can be effective tools for incorporating patients preferences and values into preference-sensitive decisions in orthopaedics. Future efforts should be aimed at assessing strategies for efficient implementation of these tools into widespread orthopaedic practice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-366) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4162971  PMID: 25176023
3.  Shared Decision-making in Orthopaedic Surgery 
The process of clinical decision-making and the patient-physician relationship continue to evolve. Increasing patient involvement in clinical decision-making is embodied in the concept of “shared decision-making” (SDM), in which the patient and physician share responsibility in the clinical decision-making process. Various patients’ decision aid tools have been developed to enhance this process.
We therefore (1) describe decision-making models; (2) discuss the different types of patients’ decision aids available to practice SDM; and (3) describe the practice and early impact of SDM on clinical orthopaedic surgery.
We performed a search of the literature using PubMed/MEDLINE and Cochrane Library. We identified studies related to shared decision-making and the use of patients’ decision aids in orthopaedics. The search resulted in 113 titles, of which 21 were included with seven studies on patients’ decision aid use specifically in orthopaedics.
Although limited studies suggest the use of patients’ decision aids may enhance decision-making, conclusions about the use of these aids in orthopaedic clinical practice cannot be made and further research examining the best type, timing, and content of patients’ decision aids that will lead to maximum patient involvement and knowledge gains with minimal clinical workflow interruption are needed.
In clinical practice today, patients are increasingly involved in clinical decision-making. Further research on SDM in orthopaedic surgery examining the feasibility and impact on practice, on patients’ willingness and ability to actively participate in shared decision-making, and the timing and type of patients’ decision aids appropriate for use is still needed.
PMCID: PMC3293980  PMID: 22057819
4.  Physicians' intentions and use of three patient decision aids 
Decision aids are evidence based tools that assist patients in making informed values-based choices and supplement the patient-clinician interaction. While there is evidence to show that decision aids improve key indicators of patients' decision quality, relatively little is known about physicians' acceptance of decision aids or factors that influence their decision to use them. The purpose of this study was to describe physicians' perceptions of three decision aids, their expressed intent to use them, and their subsequent use of them.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of random samples of Canadian respirologists, family physicians, and geriatricians. Three decision aids representing a range of health decisions were evaluated. The survey elicited physicians' opinions on the characteristics of the decision aid and their willingness to use it. Physicians who indicated a strong likelihood of using the decision aid were contacted three months later regarding their actual use of the decision aid.
Of the 580 eligible physicians, 47% (n = 270) returned completed questionnaires. More than 85% of the respondents felt the decision aid was well developed and that it presented the essential information for decision making in an understandable, balanced, and unbiased manner. A majority of respondents (>80%) also felt that the decision aid would guide patients in a logical way, preparing them to participate in decision making and to reach a decision. Fewer physicians (<60%) felt the decision aid would improve the quality of patient visits or be easily implemented into practice and very few (27%) felt that the decision aid would save time. Physicians' intentions to use the decision aid were related to their comfort with offering it to patients, the decision aid topic, and the perceived ease of implementing it into practice. While 54% of the surveyed physicians indicated they would use the decision aid, less than a third followed through with this intention.
Despite strong support for the format, content, and quality of patient decision aids, and physicians' stated intentions to adopt them into clinical practice, most did not use them within three months of completing the survey. There is a wide gap between intention and behaviour. Further research is required to study the determinants of this intention-behaviour gap and to develop interventions aimed at barriers to physicians' use of decision aids.
PMCID: PMC1931587  PMID: 17617908
5.  CHAracteristics of research studies that iNfluence practice: a GEneral survey of Canadian orthopaedic Surgeons (CHANGES): a pilot survey 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:62.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is increasingly being applied to inform clinical decision-making in orthopaedic surgery. Despite the promotion of EBM in Orthopaedic Surgery, the adoption of results from high quality clinical research seems highly unpredictable and does not appear to be driven strictly by randomized trial data. The objective of this study was to pilot a survey to determine if we could identify surgeon opinions on the characteristics of research studies that are perceived as being most likely to influence clinical decision-making among orthopaedic surgeons in Canada.
A 28-question electronic survey was distributed to active members of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) over a period of 11 weeks. The questionnaire sought to analyze the influence of both extrinsic and intrinsic characteristics of research studies and their potential to influence practice patterns. Extrinsic factors included the perceived journal quality and investigator profiles, economic impact, peer/patient/industry influence and individual surgeon residency/fellowship training experiences. Intrinsic factors included study design, sample size, and outcomes reported. Descriptive statistics are provided.
Of the 109 members of the COA who opened the survey, 95 (87%) completed the survey in its entirety. The overall response rate was 11% (95/841). Surgeons achieved consensus on the influence of three key designs on their practices: 1) randomized controlled trials 94 (99%), 2) meta-analysis 83 (87%), and 3) systematic reviews 81 (85%). Sixty-seven percent of surgeons agreed that studies with sample sizes of 101–500 or more were more likely to influence clinical practice than smaller studies (n = <100). Factors other than design influencing adoption included 1) reputation of the investigators (99%) and 2) perceived quality of the journal (75%).
Although study design and sample size (i.e. minimum of 100 patients) have some influence on clinical decision making, surgeon respondents are equally influenced by investigator reputation and perceived journal quality. At present, continued emphasis on the generation of large, methodologically sound clinical trials remains paramount to translating research findings to clinical practice changes. Specific to this pilot survey, strategies to solicit more widespread responses will be pursued.
PMCID: PMC4320200
Evidence-based medicine; Orthopaedic surgery; Clinical practice; Patient care
6.  A randomized study of telephonic care support in populations at risk for musculoskeletal preference-sensitive surgeries 
The rate of elective surgeries varies dramatically by geography in the United States. For many of these surgeries, there is not clear evidence of their relative merits over alternate treatment choices and there are significant tradeoffs in short- and long-term risks and benefits of selecting one treatment option over another. Conditions and symptoms for which there is this lack of a single clear evidence-based treatment choice present great opportunities for patient and provider collaboration on decision making; back pain and joint osteoarthritis are two such ailments. A number of decision aids are in active use to encourage this shared decision-making process. Decision aids have been assessed in formal studies that demonstrate increases in patient knowledge, increases in patient-provider engagement, and reduction in surgery rates. These studies have not widely demonstrated the added benefit of health coaching in support of shared decision making nor have they commonly provided strong evidence of cost reductions. In order to add to this evidence base, we undertook a comparative study testing the relative impact on health utilization and costs of active outreach through interactive voice response technology to encourage health coaching in support of shared decision making in comparison to mailed outreach or no outreach. This study focused on individuals with back pain or joint pain.
We conducted four waves of stratified randomized comparisons for individuals with risk for back, hip, or knee surgery who did not have claims-based evidence of one or more of five chronic conditions and were eligible for population care management services within three large regional health plans in the United States. An interactive voice response (IVR) form of outreach that included the capability for individuals to directly connect with health coaches telephonically, known as AutoDialog®, was compared to a control (mailed outreach or natural levels of inbound calling depending on the study wave). In total, the study include 24,167 adults with commercial and Medicare Advantage private coverage at three health plans and at risk for lumbar back surgery, hip repair/replacement, or knee repair/replacement.
Interactive voice response outreach led to 10.7 (P-value < .0001) times as many inbound calls within 30 days as the control. Over 180 days, the IVR group (“intervention”) had 67 percent (P-value < .0001) more health coach communications and agreed to be sent 3.2 (P-value < .0001) time as many DVD- and/or booklet-based decision aids. Targeted surgeries were reduced by 6.7 percent (P-value = .6039). Overall costs were lower by 4.9 percent (P-value = .055). Costs that were not related to maternity, cancer, trauma and substance abuse (“actionable costs”) were reduced by 6.5 percent (P-value = .0286).
IVR with a transfer-to-health coach-option significantly increased levels of health coaching compared to mailed or no outreach and lead to significantly reduced actionable medical costs. Providing high levels of health coaching to individuals with these types of risks appears to have produced important levels of actionable medical cost reductions. We believe this impact resulted from more informed and engaged health care decision making.
PMCID: PMC3575312  PMID: 23391126
7.  Helping pregnant women make better decisions: a systematic review of the benefits of patient decision aids in obstetrics 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000261.
Patient decision aids can be used to support pregnant women engaging in shared decisions, but little is known about their effects in obstetrics. The authors aimed to evaluate the effects of patient decision aids designed for pregnant women on clinical and psychosocial outcomes.
Systematic review. Data on all outcomes were extracted and summarised. All studies were critically appraised for potential sources of bias and, when possible to obtain, the reported decision aids were evaluated. Meta-analysis was not possible due to the heterogeneity of outcomes in primary studies and the small number of studies.
Data sources
Electronic searches were performed using Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library and Medion databases from inception until December 2010. Reference lists of all included articles were also examined and key experts contacted.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies
Eligibility criteria included randomised controlled trials, which reported on patient decision aids for women facing any treatment decision in pregnancy published in English. Studies evaluating health education material that did not address women's values and preferences were excluded.
Patient decision aids have been developed for decisions about prenatal testing, vaginal birth after Caesarean section, external cephalic version and labour analgesia. Use of decision aids is associated with a number of positive effects including reduced anxiety, lower decisional conflict, improved knowledge, improved satisfaction and increased perception of having made an informed choice.
Patient decision aids have the potential to improve obstetric care. However, currently the evidence base is limited by the small number of studies, the quality of the studies and because they involved heterogeneous decision aids, patient groups and outcomes.
Article summary
Article focus
Engaging pregnant women in shared decision making has become a priority for maternity care but remains a challenge for many health professionals.
Patient decision aids can be used to facilitate patient involvement in decision making and improve clinical practice. They are interventions, which provide information about options and outcomes as well as clarifying the user's values. However, little is known about their effects in obstetrics.
We aimed to evaluate the effects of decision aids designed for pregnant women on clinical and psychosocial outcomes.
Key messages
Eleven randomised controlled trials were identified investigating the effects of patient decision aids on a range of outcomes.
Use of patient decision aids was associated with a number of positive effects including: reduced anxiety (three studies), improved knowledge (seven studies), improved satisfaction (two studies), increased perception of having made an informed choice (one study) and lower decisional conflict (five studies).
Further research is needed to expand this limited evidence base and to develop better outcomes to assess the quality of decision making.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is the first systematic review of patient decision aids in obstetrics and provides a comprehensive and critical review of the available evidence.
A number of potential benefits supporting the use of decision aids in clinical practice were identified.
The limited evidence base was demonstrated aiming to stimulate the development of further decision aids and research into evaluation and implementation of them.
There is need to be cautious in interpreting the potential benefit of decision aids in routine practice in pregnancy due to the limitations of the small number of randomised controlled trials and the inconsistencies in their results.
Meta-analysis could not be performed due to the small sample size and heterogeneity of primary outcomes chosen.
PMCID: PMC3334824  PMID: 22189349
8.  Recurrent Dislocation of the Shoulder Joint 
Dr. Anthony F. DePalma is shown. Photograph provided with kind permission of the Art Committee of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. DePalma was the first editor of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, established by the recently formed Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. The idea of forming the Association of Bone and Joint surgeons had been conceived by Dr. Earl McBride of Oklahoma City in 1947, and organized by a group of twelve individuals (Drs. Earl McBride, Garrett Pipkin, Duncan McKeever, Judson Wilson, Fritz Teal, Louis Breck, Henry Louis Green, Howard Shorbe, Theodore Vinke, Paul Williams, Eugene Secord, and Frank Hand) [9]. The first organizational meeting was held in conjunction with the 1949 Annual Meeting of the AAOS [9] and the first annual meeting held April 1–2, 1949 in Oklahoma City. Drs. McBride and McKeever invited Dr. DePalma to attend that meeting and join the society. According to DePalma, “Even at this small gathering, there were whisperings of the need of another journal to provide an outlet for the many worthy papers written on clinical and basic science subjects” [7]. The decision to form a new journal was finalized in 1951, and Drs. DePalma and McBride signed a contract with J.B. Lippincott Company. Dr. DePalma was designated Editor-in-Chief, and the journal became a reality in 1953 with the publication of the first volume. From the outset he established the “symposium” as a unique feature, in which part of the articles were devoted to a particular topic. Dr. DePalma served as Editor for 13 years until 1966, when he resigned the position and recommended the appointment of Dr. Marshall R. Urist. At his retirement, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research was well established as a major journal.
Dr. Anthony F. DePalma was born in Philadelphia in 1904, the son of immigrants from Alberona in central Foggia, Italy [1]. He attended the University of Maryland for his premedical education, then Jefferson Medical College, from which he graduated in 1929. He then served a two-year internship (common at the time) at Philadelphia General Hospital. Jobs were scarce owing to the Depression, and he felt fortunate to obtain in 1931 a position as assistant surgeon at the Coaldale State Hospital, in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, a mining town. However, he became attracted to orthopaedics and looked for a preceptorship (postgraduate training in specialties was not well developed at this time before the establishments of Boards). In the fall of 1932, he was appointed as a preceptor at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Hospital, an extension of the New York Orthopaedic Hospital. In 1939 he acquired Board certification (the first board examination was offered in 1935 for a fee of $25.00 [2]) and was appointed to the NJOH staff [1].
Dr. DePalma volunteered for military service in 1942, and served first at the Parris Island Naval Hospital in South Carolina, then on the Rixey, a hospital ship. In addition to serving to evacuate casualties to New Zealand, his ship was involved in several of the Pacific island assaults (Guam, Leyte, Okinawa). In 1945, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia [1].
On his return to Philadelphia, he contacted staff members at Jefferson Medical College, including the Chair, Dr. James Martin, and became good friends with Dr. Bruce Gill (a professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the earliest Presidents of the AAOS). After he was discharged from the service, he joined the staff of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Jefferson, where he remained the rest of his career. He succeeded Dr. Martin as Chair in 1950, a position he held until 1970 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65. He closed his practice and moved briefly to Pompano Beach, Florida, but the lure of academia proved too powerful, and in January, 1971, he accepted the offer to develop a Division of Orthopaedics at the New Jersey College of Medicine and became their Chair. He committed to a five-year period, and then again moved to Pompano Beach, only to take the Florida State Boards and open a private practice in 1977. His practice grew, and he continued that practice until 1983 at the age of nearly 79. Even then he continued to travel and lecture [1].
We reproduce here four of his many contributions on the shoulder. The first comes from his classic monograph, “Surgery of the Shoulder,” published by J. B. Lippincott in 1950 [2]. In this article he describes the evolutionary development of the shoulder, focusing on the distinction between various primates, and relates the anatomic changes to upright posture and prehensile requirements. The remaining three are journal articles related to frozen shoulder [1], recurrent dislocation [3], and surgical anatomy of the rotator cuff [6], three of the most common shoulder problems then and now. He documented the histologic inflammation and degeneration in various tissues including the coracohumeral ligaments, supraspinatus tendon, bursal wall, subscapularis musculotendinous junction, and biceps tendon. Thus, the problem was rather more global than localized. He emphasized, “Manipulation of frozen shoulders is a dangerous and futile procedure.” For recurrent dislocation he advocated the Magnuson procedure (transfer of the subscapularis tendon to the greater tuberosity) to create a musculotendinous sling. All but two of 23 patients he treated with this approach were satisfied with this relatively simple procedure. (Readers will note the absence of contemporary approaches to ascertain outcomes and satisfaction. The earliest outcome musculoskeletal measures were introduced in the 60s by Larson [11] and then by Harris [10], but these instruments were physician-generated and do not reflect the rather more rigorously validated patient-generated outcome measures we use today. Nonetheless, the approach used by Dr. DePalma reflected the best existing standards of reporting results.) Dr. DePalma’s classic article, “Surgical Anatomy of the Rotator Cuff and the Natural History of Degenerative Periarthritis,” [6] reflected his literature review and dissections of 96 shoulders from 50 individuals “unaware of any (shoulder) disability” and mostly over the age of 40. By the fifth decade, most specimens began to show signs of rotator cuff tearing and he found complete tears in nine specimens from “the late decades.” He concluded,
“Based on the…observations, one can reasonably construct the natural history of periarthritis of the shoulder. It is apparent that aging is an important etiological factor, and with aging certain changes take place in the connective tissue elements of the musculotendinous cuff…it is also apparent that in slowly developing lesions of this nature compensating adjustments in the mechanics of the joint take place so that severe alterations in the mechanics of the joint do not appear. However, one must admit that such a joint is very vulnerable and, if subjected to minor trauma, the existing degenerative lesion would be extended and aggravated.”
Thus, he clearly defined the benign effects of rotator cuff tear in many aging individuals, but also the potential to create substantial pain and disability.
Dr. DePalma was a prolific researcher and writer. In addition to his “Surgery of the Shoulder,” he wrote three other books, “Diseases of the Knee: Management in Medicine and Surgery” (published by J.B. Lippincott in 1954) [4], “The Management of Fractures and Dislocations” (a large and comprehensive two volume work published by W.B. Saunders in 1959, and going through 5 reprintings) [5], and “The Intervertebral Disc” (published by W.B. Saunders in 1970, and written with his colleague, Dr. Richard Rothman) [8]. PubMed lists 62 articles he published from 1948 until 1992.
We wish to pay tribute to Dr. DePalma for his vision in establishing Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research as a unique journal and for his many contributions to orthopaedic surgery.
DePalma A. Loss of scapulohumeral motion (frozen shoulder). Ann Surg. 1952;135:193–204.DePalma AF. Origin and comparative anatomy of the pectoral limb. In: DePalma AF, ed. Surgery of the Shoulder. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott; 1950:1–14.DePalma AF. Recurrent dislocation of the shoulder joint. Ann Surg. 1950;132:1052–1065.DePalma AF. Diseases of the Knee: Management in Medicine and Surgery. Philadelphia, PA: JB Lippincott Company; 1954.DePalma AF. The Management of Fractures and Dislocations—An Atlas. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company; 1959.DePalma AF. Surgical anatomy of the rotator cuff and the natural history of degenerative periarthritis. Surg Clin North Am. 1963;43:1507–1520.DePalma AF. A lifetime of devotion to the Janus of orthopedics. Bridging the gap between the clinic and laboratory. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1991;265:146–169.DePalma AF, Rothman RH. The Intervertebral Disc. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company; 1970.Derkash RS. History of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1997;337:306–309.Harris WH. Traumatic arthritis of the hip after dislocation and acetabular fractures: treatment by mold arthroplasty. An end-result study using a new method of result evaluation. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1969;51:737–755.Larson CB. Rating scale for hip disabilities. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1963;31:85–93.
PMCID: PMC2505210  PMID: 18264840
9.  Sources of information influencing decision-making in orthopaedic surgery - an international online survey of 1147 orthopaedic surgeons 
Manufacturers of implants and materials in the field of orthopaedics use significant amounts of funding to produce informational material to influence the decision-making process of orthopaedic surgeons with regards to choice between novel implants and techniques. It remains unclear how far orthopaedic surgeons are really influenced by the materials supplied by companies or whether other, evidence-based publications have a higher impact on their decision-making. The objective was to evaluate the subjective usefulness and usage of different sources of information upon which orthopaedic surgeons base their decisions when acquiring new implants or techniques.
We undertook an online survey of 1174 orthopaedic surgeons worldwide (of whom n = 305 were head of their department). The questionnaire included 34 items. Sequences were randomized to reduce possible bias. Questions were closed or semi-open with single or multiple answers. The usage and relevance of different sources of information when learning about and selecting orthopaedic treatments were evaluated. Orthopaedic surgeons and trainees were targeted, and were only allowed to respond once over a period of two weeks. Baseline information included country of workplace, level of experience and orthopaedic subspecialisation. The results were statistically evaluated.
Independent scientific proof had the highest influence on decisions for treatment while OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) driven activities like newsletters, white papers or workshops had the least impact. Comparison of answers from the three best-represented countries in this study (Germany, UK and USA) showed some significant differences: Scientific literature and congresses are significantly more important in the US than in the UK or Germany, although they are very important in all countries.
Independent and peer-reviewed sources of information are preferred by surgeons when choosing between methods and implants. Manufacturers of medical devices in orthopaedics employ a considerable workforce to inform or influence hospital managers and leading doctors with marketing activities. Our results indicate that it might be far more effective to channel at least some of these funds into peer-reviewed research projects, thereby assuring significantly higher acceptance of the related products.
PMCID: PMC3600018  PMID: 23496954
Orthopaedics; Survey; Decision-making process; Evidence-based medicine; Online evaluation; Opinion; Internet-based
10.  arriba-lib: evaluation of an electronic library of decision aids in primary care physicians 
The successful implementation of decision aids in clinical practice initially depends on how clinicians perceive them. Relatively little is known about the acceptance of decision aids by physicians and factors influencing the implementation of decision aids from their point of view. Our electronic library of decision aids (arriba-lib) is to be used within the encounter and has a modular structure containing evidence-based decision aids for the following topics: cardiovascular prevention, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, oral antidiabetics, conventional and intensified insulin therapy, and unipolar depression. The aim of our study was to evaluate the acceptance of arriba-lib in primary care physicians.
We conducted an evaluation study in which 29 primary care physicians included 192 patients. The physician questionnaire contained information on which module was used, how extensive steps of the shared decision making process were discussed, who made the decision, and a subjective appraisal of consultation length. We used generalised estimation equations to measure associations within patient variables and traditional crosstab analyses.
Only a minority of consultations (8.9%) was considered to be unacceptably extended. In 90.6% of consultations, physicians said that a decision could be made. A shared decision was perceived by physicians in 57.1% of consultations. Physicians said that a decision was more likely to be made when therapeutic options were discussed “detailed”. Prior experience with decision aids was not a critical variable for implementation within our sample of primary care physicians.
Our study showed that it might be feasible to apply our electronic library of decision aids (arriba-lib) in the primary care context. Evidence-based decision aids offer support for physicians in the management of medical information. Future studies should monitor the long-term adoption of arriba-lib in primary care physicians.
PMCID: PMC3461416  PMID: 22672414
11.  Decision aid for patients considering total knee arthroplasty with preference report for surgeons: a pilot randomized controlled trial 
To evaluate feasibility and potential effectiveness of a patient decision aid (PtDA) for patients and a preference report for surgeons to reduce wait times and improve decision quality in patients with osteoarthritis considering total knee replacement.
A prospective two-arm pilot randomized controlled trial. Patients with osteoarthritis were eligible if they understood English and were referred for surgical consultation about an initial total knee arthroplasty at a Canadian orthopaedic joint assessment clinic. Patients were randomized to the PtDA intervention or usual education. The intervention was an osteoarthritis PtDA for patients and a one-page preference report summarizing patients’ clinical and decisional data for their surgeon. The main feasibility outcomes were rates of recruitment and questionnaire completion; the preliminary effectiveness outcomes were wait times and decision quality.
Of 180 patients eligible for surgical consultation, 142 (79%) were recruited and randomized to the PtDA intervention (n = 71) or usual education (n = 71). Data collection yielded a 93% questionnaire completion rate with less than 1% missing items. After one year, 13% of patients remained on the surgical wait list. The median time from referral to being off the wait list (censored using survival analysis techniques) was 33.4 weeks for the PtDA group (n = 69, 95% CI: 26.0, 41.4) and 33.0 weeks for usual education (n = 71, 95% CI: 26.1, 39.9). Patients exposed to the PtDA had higher decision quality based on knowledge (71% versus 47%; p < 0.0001) and quality decision being an informed choice that is consistent with their values for option outcomes (56.4% versus 25.0%; p < 0.001).
Recruitment of patients with osteoarthritis considering surgery and data collection were feasible. As some patients remained on the surgical waiting list after one year, follow-up should be extended to two years. Patients exposed to the PtDA achieved higher decision quality compared to those receiving usual education but there was no difference in wait for surgery.
Trials registration
ClinicalTrials.Gov NCT00743951
PMCID: PMC3937455  PMID: 24564877
Patient decision aids; Patient preferences; Osteoarthritis; Joint arthroplasty; Wait times; Decision quality
12.  Clinical and Experimental Observations with Regard to the Injection of Certain Agents (Pregl’s Solution) into Chronic Arthritic Joints 
J.E.M. (Tommy) Thomson was born in Los Angeles, California in 1989, of “pious and scholarly” parents with “evangelistic...interests” [3]. His grandfather had been a missionary bishop in the Methodist Church. He attended Evanston Academy and then Northwestern University. While he began his medical studies at Texas Christian College, he completed his medical education at Rush Medical College in 1915. He took an internship in Chicago, where his mentors reportedly included Drs. Edwin Ryerson (first President of the AAOS), John Ridlon, and Dallas Phemister [3]. In 1916 he began medical practice with H. Winnett Orr in Lincoln, Nebraska. During WW I he served in the University of Nebraska Overseas Base Hospital No. 49. He returned to practice after the war in 1919 and remained in Lincoln during his professional life. In addition to his professional interests, he and his wife shared an interest in cattle breeding and for a while had extensive ranching interests in Nebraska. The last few years of his life were spent in semiretirement in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
Dr. Thomson traveled widely and made many friends worldwide. In 1955 he took a trip around the world but he had many other travels and was an honorary member of a number of foreign orthopaedic societies including the Czechoslovakian Orthopaedic Society, The Polish Orthopaedic and Trauma Society, the Finnish Orthopaedic Association, and the Latin American Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. Dr. Thomson traveled to all continents except Australia. He was a founding member of the Orthopaedic Research society. As with a number of the early offices of the AAOS, Dr. Thomson was active in the American Orthopaedic Association and the Clinical Orthopaedic Society and served as President of the latter in 1936. The Instructional Course Lectures were evidently his “brainchild” [3]. The record is unclear of the beginnings, although they evidently arose out of motion picture exhibits. What is clear is the first Instructional Course Lectures were presented in 1942 and published in 1943 with Dr. Thomson as editor. At the 1946 annual meeting, Dr. Thomson was selected to “establish and monitor the Instructional Course Lectures” [2]. He continued to serve as editor of the published Instructional Course Lectures until 1948. One account suggests the idea of a central office was his, and that he personally furnished a temporary central office in Lincoln until permanent headquarters could be established [1]. He was a man of great energy and bearing. In his Presidential Lecture he commented, “There is an old saying – you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. I sometimes feel that in our post-war fervor, in behalf of the veterans separated from military service, we tend to encourage some conscientious young men to enter a field of training for which they are totally unsuited.” Despite infirmities in his last years (he had bilateral hip prostheses), he continued to be active, and died while giving lectures at the University of Kansas (“as he would have wished ‘with his boots on.’” [3]).
The article we reprint here reflects Thomson’s innovative thinking. Surgical alternatives for chronic arthritis were not well developed in 1932 and Thomson explored a method described by Pregl of Vienna [4]. Pregl injected a “secret preparation” that was a “non-irritating, non-staining, watery solution of free and combined iodine with certain idodides.” Thomson described his own similar solution, and used two to five injections spaced five to seven days apart. He reported the results in 15 patients, most with undefined or posttraumatic arthritis, but one with gonorrheal and one with likely acute joint sepsis, and two with bursitis (olecranon and prepatellar). He further produced experimental arthritis in four rabbits by injection of microbes or a dilute carbolic acid solution. Two to four weeks later, he injected Pregl’s solution and noted resolution. His observations, he concluded, warranted “further investigation and a more general use of Pregl’s solution in treating chronic effusion of arthritic and traumatized joints.” J.E.M. Thomson, MD is shown. Photograph is reproduced with permission and ©American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fifty Years of Progress, 1983.
Heck CV. Commemorative Volume 1933–1983 Fifty Years of Progress. Chicago, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 1983.Heck CV. Fifty Years of Progress: In Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Chicago, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; 1983.James E. M. Thomson 1889–1962. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1963;45:206–208.Thomson JEM. Clinical and experimental observations with regard to the injection of certain agents (Pregl's solution) into chronic arthritic joints. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1933;15:483–490.
PMCID: PMC2505292  PMID: 18196381
13.  Revision Rates after Primary Hip and Knee Replacement in England between 2003 and 2006 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(9):e179.
Hip and knee replacement are some of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in the world. Resurfacing of the hip and unicondylar knee replacement are increasingly being used. There is relatively little evidence on their performance. To study performance of joint replacement in England, we investigated revision rates in the first 3 y after hip or knee replacement according to prosthesis type.
Methods and Findings
We linked records of the National Joint Registry for England and Wales and the Hospital Episode Statistics for patients with a primary hip or knee replacement in the National Health Service in England between April 2003 and September 2006. Hospital Episode Statistics records of succeeding admissions were used to identify revisions for any reason. 76,576 patients with a primary hip replacement and 80,697 with a primary knee replacement were included (51% of all primary hip and knee replacements done in the English National Health Service). In hip patients, 3-y revision rates were 0.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8%–1.1%) with cemented, 2.0% (1.7%–2.3%) with cementless, 1.5% (1.1%–2.0% CI) with “hybrid” prostheses, and 2.6% (2.1%–3.1%) with hip resurfacing (p < 0.0001). Revision rates after hip resurfacing were increased especially in women. In knee patients, 3-y revision rates were 1.4% (1.2%–1.5% CI) with cemented, 1.5% (1.1%–2.1% CI) with cementless, and 2.8% (1.8%–4.5% CI) with unicondylar prostheses (p < 0.0001). Revision rates after knee replacement strongly decreased with age.
Overall, about one in 75 patients needed a revision of their prosthesis within 3 y. On the basis of our data, consideration should be given to using hip resurfacing only in male patients and unicondylar knee replacement only in elderly patients.
Jan van der Meulen and colleagues show that about one in 75 patients with a primary hip or knee replacement needed a revision of their prosthesis within 3 years.
Editors' Summary
Though records show attempts to replace a hip date back to 1891, it was not till the 1960s before total hip replacements were successfully performed, and the 1970s before total knee replacements were carried out. These procedures are some of the most frequently performed surgical operations, with a total of 160,00 total hip and knee replacement procedures carried out in England and Wales and about half a million in the US in 2006. Hip and knee replacements are most commonly used as a treatment for severe arthritis once other approaches, such as pain relief medications, have failed. A total hip replacement involves replacing the head of the femur (the thigh bone) with an artificial component, typically metal; the socket into which the new femur head will insert is also replaced with artificial components. In an alternative procedure, resurfacing, rather than replacing the entire joint, the diseased surfaces are replaced with metal components. This procedure may be better suited to patients with less severe disease, and is also thought to result in quicker recovery. The techniques for hip and knee replacement can also be divided into those where a cement is used to position the metal implant into the bone (cemented) versus those where cement is not used (cementless).
Why Was This Study Done?
To date, little evidence has been available to compare patient outcomes following hip or knee replacement with the many different types of techniques and prostheses available. National registries have been established in a number of countries to try to collect data in order to build the evidence base for evaluating different types of prosthesis. Specifically, it is important to find out if there are any important differences in revision rates (how often the hip replacement has to be re-done) following surgery using the different techniques. In England and Wales, the National Joint Registry (NJR) has collected data on patient characteristics, types of prostheses implanted, and the type of surgical procedures used, since its initiation in April 2003.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers linked the records of the NJR and the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) for patients treated by the NHS in England who had undergone a primary hip and knee replacement between April 2003 and September 2006. The HES database contains records of all admissions to NHS hospitals in England, and allowed the researchers to more accurately identify revisions of procedures that were done on patients in the NJR database.
They identified 327,557 primary hip or knee replacement procedures performed during that time period, but only 167,076 could be linked between the two databases.
76,576 patients in the linked database had undergone a primary hip replacement. The overall revision rate was 1.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2%–1.5%) at 3 years, with the lowest revision rates experienced by patients who had cemented prostheses. Women were found to have higher revision rates after hip resurfacing, and the revision rate was about twice as high in patients who had had a hip replacement for other indications than osteoarthritis. A patient's age did not appear to affect revision rates after hip surgery.
80,697 patients in the linked database had undergone a primary knee replacement. The overall revision rate was 1.4% (95% CI 1.3%–1.6%) at three years, again with the lowest rates of replacement experienced by patients who had cemented prostheses. Revision rates after knee replacement strongly decreased with age.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Overall, about one in 75 patients required a revision of their joint replacement, which is considered low, and cemented hip or knee prosthesis had the lowest revision rates. Post hip replacement, the highest revision rate was in patients who had undergone hip resurfacing, especially women. Following knee replacement, the highest revision rate was in patients who had undergone unicondylar prosthesis. However, in this study patients were only followed up for three years after the initial knee replacement, and it's possible that different patterns regarding the success of these differing techniques may emerge after longer follow-up. Importantly, this study was entirely observational, and data were collected from patients who had been managed according to routine clinical practice (rather than being randomly assigned to different procedures). Substantial differences in the age and clinical characteristics of patients receiving the different procedures were seen. As a result, it's not possible to directly draw conclusions on the relative benefits or harms of the different procedures, but this study provides important benchmark data with which to evaluate future performance of different procedures and types of implant.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The website of the British Orthopaedic Association contains information for patients and surgeons
The website of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence contains guidance on hip prostheses
Information is available from the US National Institutes of Health (Medline) on hip replacement, including interactive tutorials and information about rehabilitation and recovery
Medline also provides similar resources for knee replacement
The NHS provides information for patients on hip and knee replacement, including questions patients might ask, real stories, and useful links
The National Joint Registry provides general information about joint replacement, as well as allowing users to download statistics on the data it has collected on the numbers of procedures carried out in the UK
PMCID: PMC2528048  PMID: 18767900
14.  Barriers and facilitators to implementing shared decision-making in clinical practice: a systematic review of health professionals' perceptions 
Shared decision-making is advocated because of its potential to improve the quality of the decision-making process for patients and ultimately, patient outcomes. However, current evidence suggests that shared decision-making has not yet been widely adopted by health professionals. Therefore, a systematic review was performed on the barriers and facilitators to implementing shared decision-making in clinical practice as perceived by health professionals.
Covering the period from 1990 to March 2006, PubMed, Embase, CINHAL, PsycINFO, and Dissertation Abstracts were searched for studies in English or French. The references from included studies also were consulted. Studies were included if they reported on health professionals' perceived barriers and facilitators to implementing shared decision-making in their practices. Shared decision-making was defined as a joint process of decision making between health professionals and patients, or as decision support interventions including decision aids, or as the active participation of patients in decision making. No study design was excluded. Quality of the studies included was assessed independently by two of the authors. Using a pre-established taxonomy of barriers and facilitators to implementing clinical practice guidelines in practice, content analysis was performed.
Thirty-one publications covering 28 unique studies were included. Eleven studies were from the UK, eight from the USA, four from Canada, two from the Netherlands, and one from each of the following countries: France, Mexico, and Australia. Most of the studies used qualitative methods exclusively (18/28). Overall, the vast majority of participants (n = 2784) were physicians (89%). The three most often reported barriers were: time constraints (18/28), lack of applicability due to patient characteristics (12/28), and lack of applicability due to the clinical situation (12/28). The three most often reported facilitators were: provider motivation (15/28), positive impact on the clinical process (11/28), and positive impact on patient outcomes (10/28).
This systematic review reveals that interventions to foster implementation of shared decision-making in clinical practice will need to address a broad range of factors. It also reveals that on this subject there is very little known about any health professionals others than physicians. Future studies about implementation of shared decision-making should target a more diverse group of health professionals.
PMCID: PMC1586024  PMID: 16899124
15.  The evaluation of a rectal cancer decision aid and the factors influencing its implementation in clinical practice 
BMC Surgery  2014;14:16.
Colorectal cancer is common in North America. Two surgical options exist for rectal cancer patients: low anterior resection with re-establishment of bowel continuity, and abdominoperineal resection with a permanent stoma. A rectal cancer decision aid was developed using the International Patient Decision Aid Standards to facilitate patients being more actively involved in making this decision with the surgeon. The overall aim of this study is to evaluate this decision aid and explore barriers and facilitators to implementing in clinical practice.
First, a pre- and post- study will be guided by the Ottawa Decision Support Framework. Eligible patients from a colorectal cancer center include: 1) adult patients diagnosed with rectal cancer, 2) tumour at a maximum of 10 cm from anal verge, and 3) surgeon screened candidates eligible to consider both low anterior resection and abdominoperineal resection. Patients will be given a paper-version and online link to the decision aid to review at home. Using validated tools, the primary outcomes will be decisional conflict and knowledge of surgical options. Secondary outcomes will be patient’s preference, values associated with options, readiness for decision-making, acceptability of the decision aid, and feasibility of its implementation in clinical practice. Proposed analysis includes paired t-test, Wilcoxon, and descriptive statistics.
Second, a survey will be conducted to identify the barriers and facilitators of using the decision aid in clinical practice. Eligible participants include Canadian surgeons working with rectal cancer patients. Surgeons will be given a pre-notification, questionnaire, and three reminders. The survey package will include the patient decision aid and a facilitators and barriers survey previously validated among physicians and nurses. Principal component analysis will be performed to determine common themes, and logistic regression will be used to identify variables associated with the intention to use the decision aid.
This study will evaluate the impact of the rectal cancer decision aid on patients and help with planning strategies to overcome barriers and facilitate implementation of the decision aid in routine clinical practice. To our knowledge this is the first study designed to evaluate a decision aid in the field of colorectal surgery.
PMCID: PMC3998110  PMID: 24655353
Rectal cancer; Surgery; Patient centered care; Decision aid; Shared decision making
16.  Developing a placebo-controlled trial in surgery: Issues of design, acceptability and feasibility 
Trials  2011;12:50.
Surgical placebos are controversial. This in-depth study explored the design, acceptability, and feasibility issues relevant to designing a surgical placebo-controlled trial for the evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of arthroscopic lavage for the management of people with osteoarthritis of the knee in the UK.
Two surgeon focus groups at a UK national meeting for orthopaedic surgeons and one regional surgeon focus group (41 surgeons); plenary discussion at a UK national meeting for orthopaedic anaesthetists (130 anaesthetists); three focus groups with anaesthetists (one national, two regional; 58 anaesthetists); two focus groups with members of the patient organisation Arthritis Care (7 participants); telephone interviews with people on consultant waiting lists from two UK regional centres (15 participants); interviews with Chairs of UK ethics committees (6 individuals); postal surveys of members of the British Association of Surgeons of the Knee (382 surgeons) and members of the British Society of Orthopaedic Anaesthetists (398 anaesthetists); two centre pilot (49 patients assessed).
There was widespread acceptance that evaluation of arthroscopic lavage had to be conducted with a placebo control if scientific rigour was not to be compromised. The choice of placebo surgical procedure (three small incisions) proved easier than the method of anaesthesia (general anaesthesia). General anaesthesia, while an excellent mimic, was more intrusive and raised concerns among some stakeholders and caused extensive discussion with local decision-makers when seeking formal approval for the pilot.
Patients were willing to participate in a pilot with a placebo arm; although some patients when allocated to surgery became apprehensive about the possibility of receiving placebo, and withdrew. Placebo surgery was undertaken successfully.
Our study illustrated the opposing and often strongly held opinions about surgical placebos, the ethical issues underpinning this controversy, and the challenges that exist even when ethics committee approval has been granted. It showed that a placebo-controlled trial could be conducted in principle, albeit with difficulty. It also highlighted that not only does a placebo-controlled trial in surgery have to be ethically and scientifically acceptable but that it also must be a feasible course of action. The place of placebo-controlled surgical trials more generally is likely to be limited and require specific circumstances to be met. Suggested criteria are presented.
Trial registration number
The trial was assigned ISRCTN02328576 through in June 2006. The first patient was randomised to the pilot in July 2007.
PMCID: PMC3052178  PMID: 21338481
17.  A Web-Based Tool to Support Shared Decision Making for People With a Psychotic Disorder: Randomized Controlled Trial and Process Evaluation 
Mental health policy makers encourage the development of electronic decision aids to increase patient participation in medical decision making. Evidence is needed to determine whether these decision aids are helpful in clinical practice and whether they lead to increased patient involvement and better outcomes.
This study reports the outcome of a randomized controlled trial and process evaluation of a Web-based intervention to facilitate shared decision making for people with psychotic disorders.
The study was carried out in a Dutch mental health institution. Patients were recruited from 2 outpatient teams for patients with psychosis (N=250). Patients in the intervention condition (n=124) were provided an account to access a Web-based information and decision tool aimed to support patients in acquiring an overview of their needs and appropriate treatment options provided by their mental health care organization. Patients were given the opportunity to use the Web-based tool either on their own (at their home computer or at a computer of the service) or with the support of an assistant. Patients in the control group received care as usual (n=126). Half of the patients in the sample were patients experiencing a first episode of psychosis; the other half were patients with a chronic psychosis. Primary outcome was patient-perceived involvement in medical decision making, measured with the Combined Outcome Measure for Risk Communication and Treatment Decision-making Effectiveness (COMRADE). Process evaluation consisted of questionnaire-based surveys, open interviews, and researcher observation.
In all, 73 patients completed the follow-up measurement and were included in the final analysis (response rate 29.2%). More than one-third (48/124, 38.7%) of the patients who were provided access to the Web-based decision aid used it, and most used its full functionality. No differences were found between the intervention and control conditions on perceived involvement in medical decision making (COMRADE satisfaction with communication: F1,68=0.422, P=.52; COMRADE confidence in decision: F1,67=0.086, P=.77). In addition, results of the process evaluation suggest that the intervention did not optimally fit in with routine practice of the participating teams.
The development of electronic decision aids to facilitate shared medical decision making is encouraged and many people with a psychotic disorder can work with them. This holds for both first-episode patients and long-term care patients, although the latter group might need more assistance. However, results of this paper could not support the assumption that the use of electronic decision aids increases patient involvement in medical decision making. This may be because of weak implementation of the study protocol and a low response rate.
Trial Registration
Dutch Trial Register (NTR) trial number: 10340; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3806550  PMID: 24100091
psychotic disorders, schizophrenia; computers; computer-assisted decision making; shared decision making; feasibility studies, randomized clinical trial
18.  Clinical decision making in spinal fusion for chronic low back pain. Results of a nationwide survey among spine surgeons 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000391.
To assess the use of prognostic patient factors and predictive tests in clinical decision making for spinal fusion in patients with chronic low back pain.
Design and setting
Nationwide survey among spine surgeons in the Netherlands.
Surgeon members of the Dutch Spine Society were questioned on their surgical treatment strategy for chronic low back pain.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The surgeons' opinion on the use of prognostic patient factors and predictive tests for patient selection were addressed on Likert scales, and the degree of uniformity was assessed. In addition, the influence of surgeon-specific factors, such as clinical experience and training, on decision making was determined.
The comments from 62 surgeons (70% response rate) were analysed. Forty-four surgeons (71%) had extensive clinical experience. There was a statistically significant lack of uniformity of opinion in seven of the 11 items on prognostic factors and eight of the 11 items on predictive tests, respectively. Imaging was valued much higher than predictive tests, psychological screening or patient preferences (all p<0.01). Apart from the use of discography and long multisegment fusions, differences in training or clinical experience did not appear to be of significant influence on treatment strategy.
The present survey showed a lack of consensus among spine surgeons on the appreciation and use of predictive tests. Prognostic patient factors were not consistently incorporated in their treatment strategy either. Clinical decision making for spinal fusion to treat chronic low back pain does not have a uniform evidence base in practice. Future research should focus on identifying subgroups of patients for whom spinal fusion is an effective treatment, as only a reliable prediction of surgical outcome, combined with the implementation of individual patient factors, may enable the instalment of consensus guidelines for surgical decision making in patients with chronic low back pain.
Article summary
Article focus
What is the level of professional consensus among spine surgeons regarding spinal fusion surgery for chronic low back pain?
How are tests for patient selection appreciated and to what extent are they used in clinical practice?
Are prognostic patient factors incorporated in the process of surgical decision making for chronic low back pain?
Key messages
In clinical practice, there is no professional consensus on surgical treatment strategy for chronic low back pain.
Prognostic patient factors as well as tests for patient selection are not consistently used in clinical decision making for spinal fusion.
Because of a lack of consensus on spinal fusion strategy for chronic low back pain in clinical practice, no guidelines for proper patient counselling can be installed at present.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A survey among physicians provides valuable insight in the actual decision-making process in clinical practice. Understanding contributory factors in treatment strategy may help in the creation of consensus guidelines.
The introduction of an interviewer bias could be avoided by the use of a neutral intermediary instead of direct questions from peers in spine surgery.
This study focused on surgeon members of the Dutch Spine Society whose practice may not reflect that of all surgeons performing spinal fusion for chronic low back pain. Moreover, no information on conservative treatment options was acquired.
To define consensus, we chose for uniformity of opinion of at least 70%, which we considered to be sufficient for implementation in guidelines. Such a cut-off level remains arbitrary.
PMCID: PMC3278483  PMID: 22189352
19.  Robotic and Navigation Systems in Orthopaedic Surgery: How Much Do Our Patients Understand? 
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery  2014;6(4):462-467.
Technology in orthopaedic surgery has become more widespread in the past 20 years, with emerging evidence of its benefits in arthroplasty. Although patients are aware of benefits of conventional joint replacement, little is known on patients' knowledge of the prevalence, benefits or drawbacks of surgery involving navigation or robotic systems.
In an outpatient arthroplasty clinic, 100 consecutive patients were approached and given questionnaires to assess their knowledge of navigation and robotics in orthopaedic surgery. Participation in the survey was voluntary.
Ninety-eight patients volunteered to participate in the survey, mean age 56.2 years (range, 19 to 88 years; 52 female, 46 male). Forty percent of patients thought more than 30% of National Health Service (NHS) orthopaedic operations involved navigation or robotics; 80% believed this was the same level or less than the private sector. One-third believed most of an operation could be performed independently by a robotic/navigation system. Amongst perceived benefits of navigation/robotic surgery was more accurate surgery (47%), quicker surgery (50%), and making the surgeon's job easier (52%). Sixty-nine percent believed navigation/robotics was more expensive and 20% believed it held no benefit against conventional surgery, with only 9% believing it led to longer surgery. Almost 50% would not mind at least some of their operation being performed with use of robotics/navigation.
Although few patients were familiar with this new technology, there appeared to be a strong consensus it was quicker and more accurate than conventional surgery. Many patients appear to believe navigation and robotics in orthopaedic surgery is largely the preserve of the private sector. This study demonstrates public knowledge of such new technologies is limited and a need to inform patients of the relative merits and drawbacks of such surgery prior to their more widespread implementation.
PMCID: PMC4233227  PMID: 25436072
Robotics; Navigation; Arthroplasty; Patients; Survey
20.  Developing a decision aid to guide public sector health policy decisions: A study protocol 
Decision aids have been developed in a number of health disciplines to support evidence-informed decision making, including patient decision aids and clinical practice guidelines. However, policy contexts differ from clinical contexts in terms of complexity and uncertainty, requiring different approaches for identifying, interpreting, and applying many different types of evidence to support decisions. With few studies in the literature offering decision guidance specifically to health policymakers, the present study aims to facilitate the structured and systematic incorporation of research evidence and, where there is currently very little guidance, values and other non-research-based evidence, into the policy making process. The resulting decision aid is intended to help public sector health policy decision makers who are tasked with making evidence-informed decisions on behalf of populations. The intent is not to develop a decision aid that will yield uniform recommendations across jurisdictions, but rather to facilitate more transparent policy decisions that reflect a balanced consideration of all relevant factors.
The study comprises three phases: a modified meta-narrative review, the use of focus groups, and the application of a Delphi method. The modified meta-narrative review will inform the initial development of the decision aid by identifying as many policy decision factors as possible and other features of methodological guidance deemed to be desirable in the literatures of all relevant disciplines. The first of two focus groups will then seek to marry these findings with focus group members' own experience and expertise in public sector population-based health policy making and screening decisions. The second focus group will examine issues surrounding the application of the decision aid and act as a sounding board for initial feedback and refinement of the draft decision aid. Finally, the Delphi method will be used to further inform and refine the decision aid with a larger audience of potential end-users.
The product of this research will be a working version of a decision aid to support policy makers in population-based health policy decisions. The decision aid will address the need for more structured and systematic ways of incorporating various evidentiary sources where applicable.
PMCID: PMC3108337  PMID: 21569255
21.  The Effect of Alternative Graphical Displays Used to Present the Benefits of Antibiotics for Sore Throat on Decisions about Whether to Seek Treatment: A Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000140.
In a randomized trial, Cheryl Carling and colleagues evaluate how people respond to different statistical presentations regarding the consequences of taking antibiotic treatment for sore throat.
We conducted an Internet-based randomized trial comparing four graphical displays of the benefits of antibiotics for people with sore throat who must decide whether to go to the doctor to seek treatment. Our objective was to determine which display resulted in choices most consistent with participants' values.
Methods and Findings
This was the first of a series of televised trials undertaken in cooperation with the Norwegian Broadcasting Company. We recruited adult volunteers in Norway through a nationally televised weekly health program. Participants went to our Web site and rated the relative importance of the consequences of treatment using visual analogue scales (VAS). They viewed the graphical display (or no information) to which they were randomized and were asked to decide whether to go to the doctor for an antibiotic prescription. We compared four presentations: face icons (happy/sad) or a bar graph showing the proportion of people with symptoms on day three with and without treatment, a bar graph of the average duration of symptoms, and a bar graph of proportion with symptoms on both days three and seven. Before completing the study, all participants were shown all the displays and detailed patient information about the treatment of sore throat and were asked to decide again. We calculated a relative importance score (RIS) by subtracting the VAS scores for the undesirable consequences of antibiotics from the VAS score for the benefit of symptom relief. We used logistic regression to determine the association between participants' RIS and their choice. 1,760 participants completed the study. There were statistically significant differences in the likelihood of choosing to go to the doctor in relation to different values (RIS). Of the four presentations, the bar graph of duration of symptoms resulted in decisions that were most consistent with the more fully informed second decision. Most participants also preferred this presentation (38%) and found it easiest to understand (37%). Participants shown the other three presentations were more likely to decide to go to the doctor based on their first decision than everyone based on the second decision. Participants preferred the graph using faces the least (14.4%).
For decisions about going to the doctor to get antibiotics for sore throat, treatment effects presented by a bar graph showing the duration of symptoms helped people make decisions more consistent with their values than treatment effects presented as graphical displays of proportions of people with sore throat following treatment.
Clinical Trials Registration
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In the past, patients usually believed that their doctor knew what was best for them and that they had little say in deciding what treatment they would receive. But many modern interventions have complex trade-offs. Patients' opinions about the relative desirability of the possible outcomes of health care interventions depend on their lifestyle and expectations, and these “values” need to be considered when making decisions about medical treatments. Consequently, shared decision-making is increasingly superseding the traditional, paternalistic approach to medical decision-making. In shared decision-making, health care professionals talk to their patients about the risks and benefits of the various treatment options, and patients tell the health care professionals what they expect and/or require from their treatment.
Why Was This Study Done?
Shared decision-making can only succeed if patients know about the treatment options that are available for their medical condition and understand the consequences of each option. But how does the presentation of information about treatment options to patients affect their decisions? In 2002, a series of internet-based randomized trials (studies in which participants are randomly allocated to different “treatment” groups) called the Health Information Project: Presentation Online (HIPPO) was initiated to answer this question. Here, the researchers describe HIPPO 3, a trial that investigates how alternative graphical displays of the benefits of antibiotics for the treatment of sore throat affect whether people decide to seek treatment. In particular, the researchers ask which display results in people making a treatment decision most consistent with their values, i.e., in terms of the relative importance to them of the treatment's desirable and undesirable outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Adult Norwegians recruited through a television health program numerically rated the importance of symptom relief and of several negative consequences (for example, side effects) of antibiotic treatment for sore throat on the trial's Web site. Relative importance scores (which indicate the participants' values) were calculated for each participant by subtracting their ratings for the importance of the negative consequences of seeking antibiotic treatment from his or her rating for the importance of symptom relief. The participants were then asked to decide whether to visit a doctor for antibiotics without receiving any further information or after being shown one of four graphical displays illustrating the benefits of antibiotic treatment. Two bar charts and one display of happy- and sad-face icons showed the proportion of people with symptoms at specific times after sore throat onset with and without treatment. A third bar chart indicated symptom duration with and without antibiotics. Finally, all the participants were shown all the displays and other information about sore throat and were asked to decide again about seeking treatment. The researchers found a clear association between the participants' values and the likelihood of their deciding to go to the doctor, and this likelihood depended on which graphical display the participants saw. People shown information on the proportion of patients with symptoms were more likely to decide to visit a doctor than those shown information on symptom duration. Furthermore, first decisions reached after being given information on symptom duration or no information were more consistent with the fully informed second decision than first decisions reached after seeing the other displays.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, for people considering whether to seek antibiotic treatment for sore throat, a bar graph showing the duration of symptoms is more likely to help them make a decision that is consistent with their own values than a bar chart showing the proportions of people with sore throat following treatment. The researchers also found that the bar chart showing symptom duration was preferred by more of the participants than any of the other representations. Whether these results can be applied to other health care decisions or in other settings is not known. However, the researchers suggest that these findings may be most relevant to treatments that, like antibiotic treatment of sore throat, have a short-lived benefit and relatively important downsides.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
A PLoS Medicine Editorial discusses this trial and the results of another HIPPO trial that are presented in a separate PLoS Medicine Research Article by Carling et al.; details of a pilot HIPPO trial are also available
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (a US-based nonprofit organization) provides information on many aspects of medical decision making
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center provides information to help people make health care decisions through its Center for Shared Decision Making
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute provides information on patient decision aids, including an inventory of decision aids available on the Web (in English and French)
MedlinePlus provides links to information and advice about sore throat (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2726763  PMID: 19707579
22.  Work Satisfaction and Retirement Plans of Orthopaedic Surgeons 50 Years of Age and Older 
Retirement age and practice patterns before retirement are important for making accurate workforce predictions for orthopaedic surgeons. A survey of orthopaedic surgeons 50 years of age and older therefore was conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in cooperation with the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies. The survey focused on three questions: (1) At what age do orthopaedic surgeons retire? (2) Do they stop working abruptly or do they work part time before retirement? (3) What are the major factors that determine when an orthopaedic surgeon retires? According to the survey, the median retirement age for orthopaedic surgeons was 65 years. Nineteen percent of orthopaedic surgeons worked part time before retirement. Decreasing reimbursement and increasing malpractice costs were consistently cited as factors that strongly influenced retirement plans. Career satisfaction was high and was the strongest factor that kept the respondents in the workforce. The option to work part time would have the most impact on keeping orthopaedic surgeons working past the age of 65 years.
Level of Evidence: Level IV Economic and Decision Analyses. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
PMCID: PMC2505310  PMID: 18196399
23.  A population-based study of ambulatory and surgical services provided by orthopaedic surgeons for musculoskeletal conditions 
The ongoing process of population aging is associated with an increase in prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions with a concomitant increase in the demand of orthopaedic services. Shortages of orthopaedic services have been documented in Canada and elsewhere. This population-based study describes the number of patients seen by orthopaedic surgeons in office and hospital settings to set the scene for the development of strategies that could maximize the availability of orthopaedic resources.
Administrative data from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan and Canadian Institute for Health Information hospital separation databases for the 2005/06 fiscal year were used to identify individuals accessing orthopaedic services in Ontario, Canada. The number of patients with encounters with orthopaedic surgeons, the number of encounters and the number of surgeries carried out by orthopaedic surgeons were estimated according to condition groups, service location, patient's age and sex.
In 2005/06, over 520,000 Ontarians (41 per 1,000 population) had over 1.3 million encounters with orthopaedic surgeons. Of those 86% were ambulatory encounters and 14% were in hospital encounters. The majority of ambulatory encounters were for an injury or related condition (44%) followed by arthritis and related conditions (37%). Osteoarthritis accounted for 16% of all ambulatory encounters. Orthopaedic surgeons carried out over 140,000 surgeries in 2005/06: joint replacement accounted for 25% of all orthopaedic surgeries, whereas closed repair accounted for 16% and reductions accounted for 21%. Half of the orthopaedic surgeries were for arthritis and related conditions.
The large volume of ambulatory care points to the significant contribution of orthopaedic surgeons to the medical management of chronic musculoskeletal conditions including arthritis and injuries. The findings highlight that surgery is only one component of the work of orthopaedic surgeons in the management of these conditions. Policy makers and orthopaedic surgeons need to be creative in developing strategies to accommodate the growing workload of orthopaedic surgeons without sacrificing quality of care of patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
PMCID: PMC2682488  PMID: 19335904
24.  Maximum recovery after knee replacement – the MARKER study rationale and protocol 
There is little scientific evidence to support the usual practice of providing outpatient rehabilitation to patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery (TKR) immediately after discharge from the orthopaedic ward. It is hypothesised that the lack of clinical benefit is due to the low exercise intensity tolerated at this time, with patients still recovering from the effects of major orthopaedic surgery. The aim of the proposed clinical trial is to investigate the clinical and cost effectiveness of a novel rehabilitation strategy, consisting of an initial home exercise programme followed, approximately six weeks later, by higher intensity outpatient exercise classes.
In this multicentre randomised controlled trial, 600 patients undergoing primary TKR will be recruited at the orthopaedic pre-admission clinic of 10 large public and private hospitals in Australia. There will be no change to the medical or rehabilitative care usually provided while the participant is admitted to the orthopaedic ward. After TKR, but prior to discharge from the orthopaedic ward, participants will be randomised to either the novel rehabilitation strategy or usual rehabilitative care as provided by the hospital or recommended by the orthopaedic surgeon. Outcomes assessments will be conducted at baseline (pre-admission clinic) and at 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months following randomisation. The primary outcomes will be self-reported knee pain and physical function. Secondary outcomes include quality of life and objective measures of physical performance. Health economic data (health sector and community service utilisation, loss of productivity) will be recorded prospectively by participants in a patient diary. This patient cohort will also be followed-up annually for five years for knee pain, physical function and the need or actual incidence of further joint replacement surgery.
The results of this pragmatic clinical trial can be directly implemented into clinical practice. If beneficial, the novel rehabilitation strategy of utilising outpatient exercise classes during a later rehabilitation phase would provide a feasible and potentially cost-effective intervention to optimise the physical well-being of the large number of people undergoing TKR.
Trial Registration
PMCID: PMC2709653  PMID: 19534770
25.  Online Professional Networks for Physicians: Risk Management 
The rapidly developing array of online physician-only communities represents a potential extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to physicians. These online communities provide physicians with a new range of controls over the information they process, but use of this social media technology carries some risk.
The purpose of this review was to help physicians manage the risks of online professional networking and discuss the potential benefits that may come with such networks. This article explores the risks and benefits of physicians engaging in online professional networking with peers and provides suggestions on risk management.
Through an Internet search and literature review, we scrutinized available case law, federal regulatory code, and guidelines of conduct from professional organizations and consultants. We reviewed the site as a case example because it is currently the only online social network exclusively for orthopaedic surgeons.
Existing case law suggests potential liability for orthopaedic surgeons who engage with patients on openly accessible social network platforms. Current society guidelines in both the United States and Britain provide sensible rules that may mitigate such risks. However, the overall lack of a strong body of legal opinions, government regulations as well as practical experience for most surgeons limit the suitability of such platforms. Closed platforms that are restricted to validated orthopaedic surgeons may limit these downside risks and hence allow surgeons to collaborate with one another both as clinicians and practice owners.
Educating surgeons about the pros and cons of participating in these networking platforms is helping them more astutely manage risks and optimize benefits. This evolving online environment of professional interaction is one of few precedents, but the application of risk management strategies that physicians use in daily practice carries over into the online community. This participation should foster ongoing dialogue as new guidelines emerge. This will allow today’s orthopaedic surgeon to feel more comfortable with online professional networks and better understand how to make an informed decision regarding their proper use.
PMCID: PMC3314765  PMID: 22125249
Medicine & Public Health; Conservative Orthopedics; Orthopedics; Sports Medicine; Surgery; Surgical Orthopedics; Medicine/Public Health, general

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