Patient-reported experience measures (quantifying satisfaction, trust, perceived clinician empathy, and communication effectiveness) may not be developed with the same rigor as patient-reported outcome measures (quantifying comfort and capability). We systematically reviewed the use of measures used to evaluate satisfaction with hand surgery by comparing recent (2017–2019) and remote (2000–2002) publications to assess the use of satisfaction measures and areas for potential improvement.
An initial search yielded 6,159 studies, 278 of which met the eligibility criteria. We compared the 2 time periods and recorded the method of satisfaction assessment (dichotomous, categorical, and ordinal) and the results. Because they are measures of research usage potentially representative of rigor in instrument development, we evaluated aspects of score distribution, including discernment (the threshold set at >80% of top scores) and skewness, as well as the differentiation between the satisfaction with outcome and experience.
Dichotomous ratings of satisfaction were the most common (171 [62%] of 278 studies), followed by categorical (83 [30%] of 278 studies) and ordinal ( 66 [24%] of 278 studies). All 3 score types had limited discernment (86% dichotomous, 77% categorical, and 64% ordinal ratings) and non-Gaussian distributions (negative skew near 1 or greater), with no differences between the remote and recent time periods. Ninety-seven percent of studies made no distinction between satisfaction with outcome and experience.
Measurements of satisfaction with hand surgery have remained unchanged over the last 20 years. They are associated with nonnormal distributions, a notable proportion of top scores, and routine failure to distinguish between experience and outcomes of care.
Patient-reported experience measures developed with the rigor comparable to the development of patient-reported outcome measures have the potential for either of the following: (1) specificity, variation, and responsiveness sufficient to guide experience improvement efforts or (2) verification of notable ceiling effects that may limit their use.
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Published online: November 26, 2022
Accepted: October 13, 2022
Received: February 10, 2022
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
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