Outcome research investigates the success of treatment from the patient’s perspective. It is internationally acknowledged that the evaluation of treatment by the patients themselves is becoming more and more important. It is for this reason that outcome research is one of the top priorities at Schulthess Klinik.
“Outcome” refers to the result of a treatment, such as an operation. In order to assess a patient’s condition following treatment, both objective data – such as strength and mobility – and subjective data – such as the level of pain from the patient’s perspective – is collected. All of this data is gathered in registries so that important comparisons can be drawn at a later point in time. At Schulthess Klinik, we are primarily concerned with the three fields specified below.
The most appropriate measuring instrument for the task
So that a reasonable assessment regarding the result of the treatment can be made and so that these results can also be compared internationally, the most appropriate measuring instrument is required. We test the instruments for both patient groups for measurement characteristics, such as reliability, validity and objectivity.
In order to be able to record any changes to patients’ state of health or symptoms, care must also be taken to ensure that the measurement instruments are sensitive enough.
Treatment outcome from the patient’s perspective
Patient-oriented questionnaires are another important part of outcome research; on the one hand, such questionnaires can be used to assess the patient’s baseline status and, on the other hand, the treatment result (outcome). These questionnaires collect data on a range of aspects, such as pain, functionality, quality of life or satisfaction with the treatment and fitness for work.
On the basis of the questionnaire results and objective data, the efficacy of particular surgical techniques can be investigated and the various treatments can be compared. Furthermore, the quality of the treatments can be reviewed.
A decision-making aid for surgeons
Tests are also carried out to determine which factors influence the treatment outcomes. To this end, prognostic studies are used to establish whether certain baseline characteristics, such as symptoms prior to the operation, or socio-demographic characteristics increase or decrease the probability of a positive treatment outcome.
This enables predictive models to be created; these models show the patient the treatment outcome they are likely to have and help surgeons decide whether or not to operate. It is important to convey expectations based on the respective patient and treatment, as previous studies proved that the treatment outcome is significantly influenced by the patient’s expectations prior to the operation.