Despite the possibility of shorter waiting times for surgery, a majority of patients were unlikely to consider changing surgeons, according to this cross-sectional study of 1200 patients who either were awaiting or had undergone hip or knee surgery.
Despite a median waiting time of 8 months, 63% would elect to continue with their surgeons.
This has implications for governments and healthcare policy makers in setting waiting-time guarantees.
Reasons for remaining with their surgeons rather than changing for more immediate surgery include trust in the surgeon, reputation, location, personal experience and recommendations from family, friends or family doctors.
"Once patients have developed trust in their surgeons, they are willing to wait unless their pain becomes unbearable," state Dr. Tom Noseworthy and coauthors.
The authors urge more extensive study of patient issues in setting waiting-times guarantees.
- Barbara Conner-Spady, PhD, Claudia Sanmartin, PhD, Geoffrey Johnston, MD MBA, John McGurran, MSc, Melissa Kehler, MA, and Tom Noseworthy, MD MPH. Willingness of patients to change surgeons for a shorter waiting time for joint arthroplasty. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2008; 179 (4): 327 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.071659
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