A recent study on patient satisfaction following spinal surgery suggests diving deeper into what drives such feedback may help improve outcomes. The study, conducted by a team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, evaluated satisfaction surveys given to patients about a year after their procedure. The findings further suggest that expectations prior to surgery and other factors may influence how patients rate the success of their procedure.
Factors Influencing Patient Satisfaction
The study considered the evaluations of nearly 2,000 patients, which included a determination of pain experienced before the procedure and a year afterwards. More than 80 percent of patients were satisfied with their surgery, although other factors proved influential, with the following findings noted:
• Patients reporting either no significant difference or improvement under 15 percent were more likely to be dissatisfied.
• Medicaid recipients and uninsured patients were more likely to be unsatisfied.
• Depression and anxiety often contributed to lower patient satisfaction levels.
Getting Patients and Doctors on the Same Page
The results of the study can help medical professionals better understand how patients determine if a procedure is successful, which may not be the same barometer used by the surgeon who performed the operation. Not surprisingly, the level of satisfaction correlates directly to pain relief and overall improvement of quality of life, suggesting these factors carry the most weight with patients.
Considering Cost-Effectiveness of Procedures
Even when patients who were uninsured or on Medicaid experienced pain relief after surgery, there was still a higher level of dissatisfaction among this group. Patients who have to bear more of the expense for their surgery may weigh the success of their procedure based on whether or not they feel their investment was worth it.
The reasons behind how patients determine their satisfaction suggests communication with board-certified spine surgeons prior to surgery is just as important to ensure that there’s a clear understanding of what to expect from the procedure. While this applies to any type of spine surgery, a similar study found spinal stenosis patients tended to have more unrealistic expectations of the outcome, further echoing a need to keep patients as well informed as possible.
Communication is key, from diagnosis to post-surgical check ups, and working with a credible and experienced spine surgeon who can explain your individual condition and treatment options will go a long way to ensuring success. For more information on back treatments, including surgery and spinal cord stimulation, or to request an in-person consultation, call (310) 828-7757.