So many times, if the patient knew a few key questions to ask, or a few solid research studies to inquire about, the whole course of orthopedic treatment would be different.
Our goal is to make it easy for the patient to get and trust those tools, and to help them understand when they may need to seek out a second opinion.
To better understand the challenges facing orthopedic patients, the ClearCut ORTHO team surveyed over 1,500 respondents who were equally distributed by age, gender, geographic location, and income.
The results directly reflected what we see clinically on a daily basis.
For orthopedic patients on their first physician visit, prior to any conservative care:
80% had diagnostic imaging scheduled or performed on site (X-rays or MRIs)
41% already discussed or planned surgery
42% received injections
On that first visit, for those patients whose physician scheduled surgery:
Only 4% report not trusting the decision
76% never got a second opinion or questioned their options
SURPRISINGLY, OUT OF THE SAME GROUP OF RESPONDENTS:
88% reported that if long term outcomes of surgery versus conservative care were no different, that they would choose conservative care.
SO IF LARGE SCALE STUDIES ARE SHOWING NO DIFFERENCE IN OUTCOMES WHEN COMPARING SURGERY TO CONSERVATIVE CARE (LIKE PHYSICAL THERAPY) FOR MANY POPULAR ORTHOPEDIC SURGERIES, THEN WHY ARE PATIENTS STILL CHOOSING SURGERY?
Generally the answer has to do with assumptions we have in our society about needing to "fix" things that are "broken" on our X-rays and MRIs. So, in our survey we asked the same group if it was possible to have the following conditions and have zero pain or dysfunction:
Bulging or herniated disc in the spine = 58% said No
Bone on bone condition anywhere in the body = 71% said No
Partial tear of cartilage in the knee = 64% said No
Partial tear of rotator cuff musculature in the shoulder = 66% said No
These results were steady across all groups, even the ones that said they worked in a healthcare profession.
Were they right? Check out the video below to find out!
The speed and depth at which research is analyzed and shared is continually advancing thanks to various research and database websites as well as social media. For the general public, though, it continues to be fairly inaccessible. Much of the best and latest literature cannot be found by doing a normal search on a web browser, publication sites can be confusing even to the researchers and students that use them, and many articles on these sites require memberships or at least payments to read through the full text. Even still if a patient did find a quality study on a condition that they were experiencing and paid for the full text article, it is likely that they would not be able to have a strong “take away” that they could generalize to guide their own decisions.
We work to bring this information directly to the patients. We also work in collaboration with companies and employers who handle their own healthcare costs, to educate clients in need and help increase quality of their care.