PRIORITIZING PATIENTS FOR PROSTATECTOMY: BALANCING CLINICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS

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Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to develop a points-based approach to prioritize patients for elective transurethral resection of the prostate and to determine the relative contributions that clinical and psychosocial characteristics should make to a measurement of urgency for surgery. Another objective was to measure the agreement between urologists, other medical practitioners and laypersons in assessing the major determinants of priority.

Methods

A focus group of urologists and epidemiologists developed a standard questionnaire identifying relevant clinical and psychosocial factors in men with benign prostatic hypertrophy. The questionnaire was used to interview 48 men with benign prostatic hypertrophy being placed on waiting lists for transurethral resection of the prostate at four Victorian public hospitals. Individual patient case vignettes were produced using the answers to the interview questions. Members of an assessor panel comprising six laypeople, six non-urologist medical practitioners, and five urologists individually reviewed the vignettes and assigned urgency ratings and rankings to each patient. The urgency ratings and rankings were used to derive weightings for the clinical and psychosocial factors that were then incorporated into a prioritization tool framework.

Results

The assessor panel perceived a broad spread of urgency for surgery among the patients. Agreement on rankings and urgency ratings was moderate among assessors. Linear regression showed that the effect of clinical symptoms and psychosocial disturbance held approximately equal-strength independent associations with perceived urgency for all groups of assessors.

Conclusion

Urologists, non-urologist medical practitioners and laypeople considered the severity of benign prostatic hypertrophy symptoms and any resulting psychosocial disturbance as equally important in establishing priority for transurethral resection of the prostate. New prioritization tools should take both into consideration and weight them equally.

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