Would back pain patients let non-physicians decide whether they are surgical candidates? 5 key notes

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |
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A study recently published in Spine examined patient attitudes toward non-physicians assessing whether they need spine surgery.

The study authors administered a survey to patients including 19 items. The patients all had low back pain and/or low back pain symptoms and were referred for an elective surgical assessment. There were 80 patients who completed the survey.


Here are five things to know:


1. Most of the patients, 72.5 percent, requested to see a surgeon within three months of referral.


2. Eighty-eight percent of the patients said they would undergo a screening from a non-physician to identify whether they would be a candidate for surgery.


3. Around half of the respondents said they'd drive more than 50 miles for the non-physician assessment.


4. Forty-six percent of the patients said they would pay out-of-pocket for the non-physician assessment; another 25.6 percent were unsure.


5. Seventy percent of the patients said they'd still want to see a surgeon if the non-physician said they weren't a surgical candidate. The patients expressed concern about whether surgeons and non-physicians would agree about their status as a surgical candidate.


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