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QEII surgeons redefining what makes a surgery successful

7 December 2018

Orthopaedic surgeons at QEII Hospital are expanding the measure of success for surgery to include patient feedback months and years post-surgery, in the hopes to one day better determine people’s best surgical options.

In a Metro South Health first, Director of Orthopaedics Dr Christopher Bell has introduced a quality-controlled orthopaedic registry to collect data on patients’ quality of life after common orthopaedic procedures including rotator cuff repairs and knee replacements.   

“We’re collecting pre- and post-operative data, and asking important questions about pain level, function and moveability, and really drilling down into how they’re doing at home, work and in their social lives,” he said.

To date, more than 250 QEII patients had consented to take part. 

“When we have a large enough patient group we can look at clusters of people and ask: ‘why did this surgery not benefit them?’ and ‘what would have been a better alternative?’,” Dr Bell said.

“We can look for commonalities in patients that aren’t achieving as much, as well as look to see what has worked really well.

“I think this is the way healthcare should be moving in terms of measuring success. Historically we haven’t done a good job of working out if the surgeries we are doing are having the best possible positive impact.”

In early-2019, half of Dr Bell’s 12-strong orthopaedic consultant team will be using the registry and by 2020 the entire team will be online.

“The hope is that by 2020, every orthopaedic surgery patient at QEII will be helping us to gain a better understanding of future patient’s best surgical options,” he said.

“Surgical success should be defined as so much more than a safely completed procedure.” 

Last updated 7 December 2018
Last reviewed 7 December 2018

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