Using health-related goals to direct care could improve quality and reduce cost of medical care; however, the effect of these goals for patients with spinal pathologies is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to describe patient-reported goals by provider type and to evaluate the effect of patient-provider goal awareness on patient satisfaction and treatment pathway.
A pilot program was instituted in which all new or existing patients scheduled with either a single spine surgeon or a nonsurgical spine nurse practitioner were asked to complete a paper survey instrument regarding their goals of care before their visit. The patient goals were then discussed between the provider and the patient. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate relationships between patient goals, provider seen, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations.
There were 703 respondents to the survey, of whom 416 were included for subgroup analysis. Patient-reported goals varied by provider type. When examining rates of recommended interventions by patient goals, notable differences were observed for 7 of the 13 goal categories. Significant differences in intervention recommendations by provider type existed for physical therapy, medications, MRI, and surgery (all P < 0.001). After controlling for other variables, seeing a surgeon, thoracolumbar pathology, and goals of “return to activity or social events I enjoy,” and “learn about spine surgery” were significant independent predictors of recommendation for surgery (all odds ratio > 3 and P < 0.05). This model generated an area under the curve of 0.923 (95% confidence interval, 0.861 to 0.986), indicating outstanding discrimination in predicting recommendation for surgery. Patient satisfaction scores rose from 91.5% to 92.2%, but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.782).
Specific patient-reported goals vary by provider type and are associated with specific diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Goal-directed care may improve the design of treatment pathways and the overall patient experience.