Online Decision Aid Helps Patients Weigh Risks and Benefits of Surgery vs. Other Treatments
July 14, 2022 (Vancouver) – A research team led by Arthritis Research Canada scientists has developed an online tool, called a decision aid, that provides individualized information on total knee replacement surgery and non-surgical treatment options to people with knee osteoarthritis. In the randomized clinical trial, participants who used the decision aid prior to their surgeon consultation had a better understanding of what their options were and the potential risks and benefits. This led to patients being more informed about their options and making better quality treatment decisions, even if that meant deciding against surgery.
“This research demonstrates that decision aids are a powerful tool in increasing patient knowledge and improving quality of care,” said Dr. Deborah A. Marshall, a research scientist at Arthritis Research Canada. “This tool empowers people to make informed decisions that align with their preference and sets expectations regarding surgery outcomes and recovery.”
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) causes pain and stiffness in the knee joint and total knee replacement is the most common elective surgery in people with knee OA. While the surgery may reduce pain and disability in a majority of people, 15-30% experience less than expected relief, 3% require further surgery within five years, and a small number experience serious side-effects.
“Decision aids should be included as part of an online pre-clinical assessment,” said Marshall. “It’s important for doctors to ensure their patients have all the information they need to make a well-informed and practical decision about their own treatment options.”
There is a growing demand for total knee replacement and a need to prioritize those who could benefit the most from this surgery. Informing people about the benefits and risks of surgery, along with education regarding non-surgical options is critical. Patients who are not provided all the information and options may have unmet expectations and may be more likely to experience dissatisfaction with their surgery results.
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Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose world recognized research is creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is conducting research across Canada in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec and is affiliated with five major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, and McGill University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis, new and better treatment, and improved quality of life.
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