Clinical Approach in Youth Sports Medicine

Patients' and Guardians' Desired Characteristics in Sports Medicine Surgeons

Jennifer J. Beck, MD; Martha M. Murray, MD; Melissa A. Christino, MD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2019;27(13):479-485. 

In This Article


Before initiation of this cross-sectional study, approval was obtained from institutional review board. Over a 1 month period, surveys were given to both patients and their guardians before being seen by one of seven sports medicine surgeons in the clinical setting of a tertiary care referral center. For 3 months around the time of the study, the volume of potentially eligible patients was 361, 321, and 315 patients within this clinic. Surveys were marked with a unique identifier to allow matching of anonymous patient and guardian surveys.

Inclusion criteria were defined as patients aged 10 to 18 years, with a primary guardian in attendance at their appointment. Exclusion criteria included non-English readers and patients without primary guardians at their visit. Eligible patients and guardians were offered enrollment in this study on check-in to their office visit. Participation was voluntary. Answers were anonymous.

A unique survey was developed with assistance of an academic survey methodologist to ensure quality. Survey questions included basic demographics, referral information, reason for visit, preferred surgeon characteristics, and the most important surgeon characteristic, as well as questions related to family medical decision making. Patient and guardian surveys were nearly identical and are shown in Figures 1 and 2, respectively. Given the lack of medical terminology in the study, the survey methodologist determined that the age range of 10 to 18 years was appropriate for the education and reading level of this survey. Patients and guardians completed surveys simultaneously, and study participants were allowed to ask questions of their guardians or the research staff during survey completion. Patient and guardian surveys were matched using the same random identification number.

Figure 1.

Patient survey.

Figure 2.

Guardian survey.

Statistical analysis was performed with descriptive statistics for patient and guardian responses, as well as univariate and agreement analysis to compare differences between patient and guardian responses using SPSS. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.