Brian S. Parsley, M.D, flag

The Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising in Orthopaedics

Abstract
Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) has become an influential factor in healthcare delivery in the United States. We evaluated the influence of DTCA on surgeon and patient opinions and behavior in orthopaedics by surveying orthopaedic surgeons who perform hip and knee arthroplasties and patients who were scheduled to have hip or knee arthro-plasty. Respondents were asked for their opinions of and experiences with DTCA, including the influence of DTCA on surgeon and patient decision making. Greater than 98% of surgeon respondents had experience with patients who were exposed to DTCA. The majority of surgeon respondents reported DTCA had an overall negative impact on their practice and their interaction with patients (74%), and their patients often were confused or misinformed about the appropriate treatment for their condition based on an advertisement (77%). Fifty-two percent of patient respondents recalled seeing or hearing advertisements related to hip or knee arthroplasty. These patients were more likely to request a specific type of surgery or brand of implant from their surgeon and to see more than one surgeon before deciding to have surgery. Direct-to-consumer advertising seems to play a substantial role in surgeon and patient decision making in orthopaedics. Future efforts should be aimed at improving the quality and accuracy of information contained in consumer-directed advertisements related to orthopaedic implants and procedures.

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