Patients’ Acceptance of Prioritization for Bariatric Surgery

sharma-obesity-waiting-timeAs regular readers are well aware, bariatric surgery is still rather hard to come by in most Canadian provinces.

This prompted us to examine patients’ perspectives on wait-list prioritization and willingness to pay for bariatric surgery amongst patients waiting for surgery in our program.

The paper by Richdeep Gill and colleagues, published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery, examines the responses of wait-listed patients to nine hypothetical scenarios describing patients waiting for surgery.

Respondents were asked to rank the priority of these hypothetical patients on the wait list relative to their own.

Scenarios examined variations in age, clinical severity, functional impairment, social dependence and socioeconomic status. We also assessed willingness to pay for faster access using a 5-point ordinal scale.

Overall respondents assigned similar priority to hypothetical patients with characteristics similar to their own but higher priority (greater urgency) to those exhibiting greater clinical severity and functional impairment.

On the other hand, they assigned lower priorities to patients at the extremes of age, on social assistance, or of of higher socioeconomic status.

Most (85%) respondents disagreed with payment to expedite access, although participants earning more than $80 000/year were less likely to disagree.

These findings show that most patients waiting for bariatric surgery are OK with prioritization of patients with greater clinical severity and functional impairments but generally disagree with paying for faster access.

Thus, these findings certainly suggest that there would be general acceptance of giving priority to patients with higher Edmonton Obesity Stages, even if this would mean longer waits for themselves.

How Canadian is that?

Edmonton, AB

ResearchBlogging.orgGill RS, Majumdar SR, Wang X, Tuepah R, Klarenbach SW, Birch DW, Karmali S, Sharma AM, & Padwal RS (2014). Prioritization and willingness to pay for bariatric surgery: the patient perspective. Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie, 57 (1), 33-9 PMID: 24461224