Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – After working in Orthopedics for twenty years, it’s not uncommon to think the surgeons signing on just out of medical school look like they’re twelve. While Akrit Jaswal became the world’s youngest surgeon at only age 7, the average age of physicians in the U.S. is still 51.7. For orthopedic surgeons the average age is 56.5 according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Some studies suggest that patients perceive that minimally invasive surgery offers less complications and more advantages to traditional open surgery. Long-term outcomes, surgeon recommendation, and complication risks are the top criteria when considering surgery options. In today’s world of internet reviews, surgeon popularity and ratings as well as age may factor in to those decisions. According to a new study from researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, when scheduling your next case, you may want to consider age and online reviews first.
The researchers analyzed rating reviews on healthgrades.com for spine surgeons that are members of Society of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS). SMISS is an international community of surgeons that specialize in minimally invasive surgery, and in fact also have a Young Surgeons Committee.
International surgeons, surgeons who had fewer than 3 written reviews, and those with reviews written most often by residents or fellows were excluded. A total of 169 surgeons met the criteria for inclusion, with a total of 2,235 reviews analyzed. The average age of the surgeons was 51.7, with males comprising 98.6 percent. Surgeons under the age of 40 totaled 13.2 percent. Surgeons aged 40 to 49 made up the largest group at 34.9 percent. Surgeons aged 50 to 59 came in second at 32.6 percent. Surgeons aged 60 and older made up 19.4 percent.
Overall, younger surgeons were more likely to receive higher ratings. Behavioral characteristics such being “kind” and “bedside manner” significantly correlated to higher review ratings. “Ancillary staff” showed twice greater odds of positive reviews. By comparison, wait times reduced a surgeons odds of good reviews by half. Sentences that included pain descriptions reduced the odds of positive reviews while those descriptions of pain relief produced greater odds of positive reviews. The researchers concluded that young surgeons that were engaging and pleasant, worked with favorable staff in accommodating offices, and provided sufficient pain relief had the most positive reviews.
Considering studies that suggest patient-physician relationship as well as trust directly impact outcomes, the study could provide some insight for routing cases.