Study Finds Informed Patients Have Better Outcomes


Achieving a positive patient outcome is a primary objective for any surgical encounter. Many factors impact whether this goal is met. A recent study reported by indicates a successful outcome may have as much to do with the patient's knowledge and expectations as other factors. As a result, investments in patient education may produce more satisfied patients.

The study, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, focused on patients receiving elective orthopedic treatment at the hospital. 551 patients were sent two questionnaires, the first was sent one week after they met with a specialist for a consult. The second was sent six months after they had completed their treatment or surgery. Both surgical and non-surgical patients were included in the survey. 70% of the patients responded to the questionnaires.

Patients were tested about their knowledge of their medical problem and their preferred method of treatment. If the patient received a 60% or higher score on the knowledge questions and received their desired treatment they were considered to have made informed patient decisions.

Researchers found the highest levels of satisfaction were among those who were well informed and received their preferred treatment. These patients were satisfied with their levels of pain, were highly satisfied with their treatment, and had lower levels of regret.

How does your hospital handle patient education? Do you see a difference in outcomes between informed and non-informed patients?