A prospective questionnaire.Objective.
The aim of this study was to evaluate factors that patients consider when selecting a spine surgeon.Summary of Background Data.
The rise in consumer-driven health insurance plans has increased the role of patients in provider selection. The purpose of this study is to identify factors that may influence a patient's criteria for selecting a spine surgeon.Methods.
Two hundred thirty-one patients who sought treatment by one spine surgeon completed an anonymous questionnaire consisting of 26 questions. Four questions regarded demographic information; 16 questions asked respondents to rate the importance of specific criteria regarding spine surgeon selection (scale 1–10, with 10 being the most important); and six questions were multiple-choice regarding patient preferences toward aspects of their surgeon (age, training background, etc.).Results.
Patients rated board certification (9.26 ± 1.67), in-network provider status (8.10 ± 3.04), and friendliness/bedside manner (8.01 ± 2.35) highest among factors considered when selecting a spine surgeon. Most patients (92%) reported that 30 minutes or less should pass between check-in and seeing their surgeon during a clinic appointment. Regarding whether their spine surgeon underwent training as a neurosurgeon versus an orthopedic surgeon, 25% reported no preference, 52% preferred neurosurgical training, and 23% preferred orthopedic training.Conclusion.
Our findings suggest that board certification and in-network health insurance plans may be most important in patients’ criteria for choosing a spine surgeon. Advertisements were rated least important by patients. Patients expressed varying preferences regarding ideal surgeon age, training background, proximity, medical student/resident involvement, and clinic appointment availability. The surgeon from whom patients sought treatment completed an orthopedic surgery residency; hence, it is notable that 52% of patients preferred a spine surgeon with a neurosurgical background. In the context of patients’ increasing role in health care decision-making and provider selection, understanding the factors that influence patients’ selection of a spine surgeon is important.Conclusion.
Level of Evidence: 3