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Since improving the patient's condition is the ultimate goal of clinical care and research, this review of research methodology focuses on outcomes in the musculoskeletal field.This paper provides an overview of conceptual models, different types of outcomes and commonly assessed outcomes in orthopaedics as well as epidemiological and statistical aspects of outcomes determination, measurement and interpretation.Clinicians should determine the outcome(s) most important to patients and/or public health in collaboration with the patients, epidemiologists/statisticians and other stakeholders.Key points in outcome choice are to evaluate both the benefit and harm of a health intervention, and to consider short- and longer-term outcomes including patient-reported outcomes.Outcome estimation should aim at identifying a clinically important difference (not the same as a statistically significant difference), at presenting measures of effects with confidence intervals and at taking the necessary steps to minimize bias. Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2018;3 DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.3.170064.

Original publication




Journal article


Efort open rev

Publication Date





160 - 167


epidemiology, outcomes, statistics