Original Research

Patient Preferences in Office-Based Orthopedic Care: A Prospective Evaluation

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  • The vast majority of patients desire only 10 to 20 minutes with their doctor and are highly satisfied with the amount of time their surgeon spends with them.
  • Patients reported no significant gender- or ethnicity-based preferences for their doctor.
  • The majority of patients believe that a wait time exceeding 30 minutes is too long.
  • Nearly 42% of respondents felt they would be receiving below average medical care if seen only by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant at a postoperative appointment.
  • Recommendations from friends is the most common way patients find their physicians.




Patient satisfaction has become a topic of interest within orthopedics as the landscape of provider reimbursement continues to evolve to reward value of care. Online internet physician rating sites are becoming increasingly popular ways for patients to subjectively express their provider experience. Understanding what patients value during their episode of care is important in the modern healthcare environment. The purpose of this study is to determine what preferences, if any, patients have when selecting their physician and how they experience care in an outpatient orthopedic setting. A prospective survey was electronically administered to 212 patients in an adult reconstruction clinic. One hundred ninety-six patients (92.5%) completed the survey. Demographic questions regarding age, sex, ethnicity, and prior adult reconstruction surgical history were obtained. When patients were asked how much time they would like the doctor to spend with them on a routine visit, the most common answer was 10 to 15 minutes (41.3%), with only 10.2% patients desiring >20 minutes. The majority of patients (83.1%) believe ≥30 minutes is too long to wait to see their surgeon. Less than half of patients (41.8%) stated that they would feel as though they were receiving below average care if seen only by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant at a postoperative visit. Patients reported no significant age, gender, or ethnicity preferences for their physician. Recommendations from friends or other physicians was the most common (66.4%) way for patients to find their physicians, while 12.2% utilized online rating sites during their search. Optimizing patient experiences in the office may include keeping wait times to <30 minutes and educating patients on the roles of physician extenders. More work needs to be done to further elucidate variables influencing the subjective patient experience with their orthopedic care.

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