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Early Postoperative Radiographs Have No Effect on Orthopaedic Trauma Patient's Satisfaction With Their Clinic Visit

J. Schultz, Blake MD; Bishop, Julius A. MD; Hall, Kimberley MD; Finlay, Andrea PhD; Gardner, Michael J. MD

Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: July 01, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00697
Research Article: PDF Only

Background: Patient satisfaction plays a prominent role in modern orthopaedic care, reimbursement, and quality assessment, even if it runs contrary to the “standard of care.” The literature shows that routine early radiographs after acute fracture care have no impact on clinical decision-making or patient outcomes, but little is known about their effect on patient satisfaction and understanding of their injuries. We hypothesized that eliminating these radiographs would negatively influence patient satisfaction scores with their clinic visit.

Methods: One hundred patients were prospectively enrolled after acute fracture fixation. Half the patients obtained radiographs at the 2-week follow-up visit, whereas the other half did not. All patients completed a satisfaction survey about their clinic visit.

Results: No difference was observed between the groups in overall satisfaction with the clinic visit (P = 0.62) or complications. However, patients with radiographs were more satisfied with the surgeon's explanations of their injury and progression (P = 0.03).

Conclusion: Eliminating routine early postoperative radiographs had no effect on overall patient satisfaction with the clinic visit, but it did affect satisfaction with the surgeon's explanation of their injury. This could save time, money, and radiation exposure without adversely affecting patient outcome or satisfaction, but an equivalent educational tool should be identified for clinic visits.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.

Correspondence to Dr. Schultz: blakeschultzmd@gmail.com

Dr. Schultz or an immediate family member include stock or stock options held in StabilizOrtho. Dr. Bishop or an immediate family member includes personal fees from Innomed and Globus Medical. Dr. Gardner or an immediate family member includes personal fees from Biocomposites, BoneSupport AB, Conventus, Globus, KCI, and Pacira Pharmaceuticals; has stock or stock options held in Imagen Technologies; and has received research or institutional support from Medtronic. None of the following authors or any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Dr. Hall, and Dr. Finlay.

© 2019 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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