Background: We found no information in the literature regarding the relationship between patient and physician-derived outcome assessments with a shoulder questionnaire. In this study, we examined a group of patients who were assessed with patient and physician-administered questionnaires following shoulder arthroplasty.
Methods: From August 2003 to February 2004, sixty-seven consecutive patients who had been followed for a minimum of six months after shoulder arthroplasty were evaluated with a self-administered and an identical physician-directed shoulder questionnaire that assessed clinical and functional outcomes at the time of routine follow-up. An assessment of the agreement between physicians and patients as well as the factors that affected agreement was performed.
Results: The intraclass correlation indicated almost perfect physician-patient agreement (>0.80) on items related to overall pain, pain at night, pain with activity, stability, and active elevation and substantial agreement (intraclass correlation, 0.66 and 0.69) between the physician and patient assessments of pain without activity and strength. While the differences were small, on the average physician ratings for pain were lower (indicating less pain) than patient ratings for pain, physicians rated stability and strength as being closer to normal, and they reported less active elevation. There was substantial agreement between the physician and patient assessments of outcome with the modified Neer system (intraclass correlation = 0.75), with 87% agreement if excellent and satisfactory outcomes were combined.
Conclusions: A patient-derived questionnaire can provide a high level of agreement with surgeon assessments of outcome following shoulder surgery. Patient-administered methods should continue to be evaluated as a means of assessment of these patients.