Are responders to patient health surveys representative of those invited to participate? An analysis of the Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Pilot from the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry

Ian A. Harris, Kara Cashman, Michelle Lorimer, Yi Peng, Ilana Ackerman, Emma Heath, Stephen E. Graves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are commonly used to evaluate surgical outcome in patients undergoing joint replacement surgery, however routine collection from the target population is often incomplete. Representative samples are required to allow inference from the sample to the population. Although higher capture rates are desired, the extent to which this improves the representativeness of the sample is not known. We aimed to measure the representativeness of data collected using an electronic PROMs capture system with or without telephone call follow up, and any differences in PROMS reporting between electronic and telephone call follow up. Methods Data from a pilot PROMs program within a large national joint replacement registry were examined. Telephone call follow up was used for people that failed to respond electronically. Data were collected pre-operatively and at 6 months post-operatively. Responding groups (either electronic only or electronic plus telephone call follow up) were compared to non-responders based on patient characteristics (joint replaced, bilaterality, age, sex, American Society of Anesthesiologist (ASA) score and Body Mass Index (BMI)) using chi squared test or ANOVA, and PROMs for the two responder groups were compared using generalised linear models adjusted for age and sex. The analysis was restricted to those undergoing primary elective hip, knee or shoulder replacement for osteoarthritis. Results Pre-operatively, 73.2% of patients responded electronically and telephone follow-up of non-responders increased this to 91.4%. Pre-operatively, patients responding electronically, compared to all others, were on average younger, more likely to be female, and healthier (lower ASA score). Similar differences were found when telephone follow up was included in the responding group. There were little (if any) differences in the post-operative comparisons, where electronic responders were on average one year younger and were more likely to have a lower ASA score compared to those not responding electronically, but there was no significant difference in sex or BMI. PROMs were similar between those reporting electronically and those reporting by telephone. Conclusion Patients undergoing total joint replacement who provide direct electronic PROMs data are younger, healthier and more likely to be female than non-responders, but these differences are small, particularly for post-operative data collection. The addition of telephone call follow up to electronic contact does not provide a more representative sample. Electronic-only follow up of patients undergoing joint replacement provides a satisfactory representation of the population invited to participate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0254196
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

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