Patient-Centered Outcome Spectrum: An Evidence-based Framework to Aid in Shared Decision-making

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Our objective was to develop an alternate construct for reporting anticipated outcomes after emergency general surgery (EGS) that presents risk in terms of a composite measure.


Currently available prediction tools generate risk outputs for discrete as opposed to composite measures of postoperative outcomes. A construct to synthesize multiple discrete estimates into a global understanding of a patient's likely postoperative health status is lacking and could augment shared decision-making conversations.


Using the 2012 to 2014 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Participant Use File, we developed the Patient-Centered Outcomes Spectrum (PCOS) for patients ≥65 years old who underwent an EGS operation. The PCOS defines 3 exclusive types of global outcomes (good, intermediate, and bad outcomes) and allows patients to be prospectively stratified by both their EGS diagnosis and preoperative surgical risk profile.


Of the patients in our study population, 13,330 (46.4%) experienced a 30-day postoperative course considered a good outcome. Conversely, 3791 (13.2%) of study patients experienced a bad outcome. The remainder of patients (11,617; 40.4%) were classified as experiencing an intermediate outcome. The incidence of good, intermediate, and bad outcomes was 69.7%, 28.2%, and 2.1% for low-risk patients, and 22.0%, 48.9%, and 29.1% for high-risk patients. Diagnosis-specific PCOS constructs are also provided.


Consistent with the goals of shared decision-making, the PCOS provides an evidence-based construct based upon a composite outcome measure for patients and providers as they weigh the risks of undergoing EGS.

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