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May 23/30, 2001

Good Technical Outcome, Poor Service ExperienceA Verdict on Contemporary Medical Care?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2001;285(20):2639-2641. doi:10.1001/jama.285.20.2639

In the Clinical Crossroads in this issue of THE JOURNAL, the discussant Dr Jennifer Daley1 rates the care the patient received as "good technical outcome, poor service experience."

No one will quarrel with the accuracy of the judgment rendered, but what a sad commentary—and understatement—about what happened to the patient. Most physicians and patients, and undoubtedly Ms G herself, would prefer that result to a rating of "good service experience, poor technical outcome" after such surgery, an outcome that was commonly the case with knee surgery 20 years ago, before orthopedic methods improved so remarkably.2 Being able to take a 3-week hiking trip after knee surgery is a tribute to modern orthopedics no less than to the skill of her surgeon.

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