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31-05-2017 | Uitgave 9/2017 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 9/2017

Use of large-scale HRQoL datasets to generate individualised predictions and inform patients about the likely benefit of surgery

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 9/2017
Nils Gutacker, Andrew Street



The English NHS has mandated the routine collection of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) data before and after surgery, giving prospective patient information about the likely benefit of surgery. Yet, the information is difficult to access and interpret because it is not presented in a lay-friendly format and does not reflect patients’ individual circumstances. We set out a methodology to generate personalised information to help patients make informed decisions.


We used anonymised, pre- and postoperative EuroQol-5D-3L (EQ-5D) data for over 490,000 English NHS patients who underwent primary hip or knee replacement surgery or groin hernia repair between April 2009 and March 2016. We estimated linear regression models to relate changes in EQ-5D utility scores to patients’ own assessment of the success of surgery, and calculated from that minimally important differences for health improvements/deteriorations. Classification tree analysis was used to develop algorithms that sort patients into homogeneous groups that best predict postoperative EQ-5D utility scores.


Patients were classified into between 55 (hip replacement) to 60 (hernia repair) homogeneous groups. The classifications explained between 14 and 27% of variation in postoperative EQ-5D utility score.


Patients are heterogeneous in their expected benefit from surgery, and decision aids should reflect this. Large administrative datasets on HRQoL can be used to generate the required individualised predictions to inform patients.

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