Outcome measurement in plastic surgery.
Wormald JCR., Rodrigues JN.
Outcome measurement in plastic surgery is often surgeon-centred, and clinician-derived. Greater emphasis is being placed on patient-reported outcomes (PROs), in which the patients' perspective is measured directly from them. Numerous patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) have been developed in a range of fields, with a number of good quality PROMs in plastic surgery. They can be deployed to support diagnosis, disease severity determination, referral pathways, treatment decision-making, post-operative care and in determining cost-effectiveness. In order to understand the impact of disease and health interventions, appropriate PROMs are a logical choice in plastic surgery, where many conditions involve detriment of function or cosmesis. PROMS can be classified as disease-specific, domain-specific, dimension-specific, population-specific and generic. Choosing the correct outcome and measure can be nebulous. The two most important considerations are: is it suitable for the intended purpose? And how valid is it? Measurement that combines being patient-centred and aligning with clinicians' understanding is achievable, and can be studied scientifically. Rational design of new PROMs and considered choice of measures is critical in clinical practice and research. There are a number of tools that can be employed to assess the quality of PROMs that are outlined in this overview. Clinicians should consider the quality of measures both in their own practice and when critically appraising evidence. This overview of outcome measurement in plastic surgery provides a tool set enabling plastic surgeons to understand, implement and analyse outcome measures across clinical and academic practice.