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Shared Decision Making in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Despite evidence that shared decision-making tools for treatment decisions improve decision quality and patient engagement, they are not commonly employed in orthopaedic practice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of decision and communication aids on patient knowledge, efficiency of decision making, treatment choice, and patient and surgeon experience in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

Methods:

One hundred and twenty-three patients who were considered medically appropriate for hip or knee replacement were randomized to either a shared decision-making intervention or usual care. Patients in the intervention group received a digital video disc and booklet describing the natural history and treatment alternatives for hip and knee osteoarthritis and developed a structured list of questions for their surgeon in consultation with a health coach. Patients in the control group received information about the surgeon’s practice. Both groups reported their knowledge and stage in decision making and their treatment choice, satisfaction, and communication with their surgeon. Surgeons reported the appropriateness of patient questions and their satisfaction with the visit. The primary outcome measure tracked whether patients reached an informed decision during their first visit. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate differences between groups.

Results:

Significantly more patients in the intervention group (58%) reached an informed decision during the first visit compared with the control group (33%) (p = 0.005). The intervention group reported higher confidence in knowing what questions to ask their doctor (p = 0.0034). After the appointment, there was no significant difference between groups in the percentage of patients choosing surgery (p = 0.48). Surgeons rated the number and appropriateness of patient questions higher in the intervention group (p < 0.0001), reported higher satisfaction with the efficiency of the intervention group visits (p < 0.0001), and were more satisfied overall with the intervention group visits (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions:

Decision and communication aids used in orthopaedic practice had benefits for both patients and surgeons. These findings could be important in facilitating adoption of shared decision-making tools into routine orthopaedic practice.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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