Editorial Commentary: Utility of Patient-Reported Outcome Threshold Scores to Estimate Patient Satisfaction: ’Let's Ask the Patient!’

Mark P. Cote, Cale A. Jacobs, Mark D. Price, Augustus D. Mazzocca

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


The reporting and analysis of patient-reported outcome measures have come a long way. Since the concept of the minimally clinically important difference was first introduced in 1989, threshold scores have grown to include substantial clinical benefit and patient acceptable symptomatic state (PASS). The initial motivation for developing these thresholds was rooted in separating clinical significance from statistical. These thresholds provide insight into the relationship between scores on patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) and patient-reported improvement and satisfaction. It follows that in order to evaluate PROM scores, the best method for deriving the threshold typically uses an anchor-based methodology, i.e., “ask the patient.” Specifically, patients are asked how much change they've experienced and whether they consider their current state to be satisfactory. The responses to these questions are compared with the scores on PROMs to find outcome thresholds that best separate patients who reported no improvement from those who reported minimal improvement, substantial improvement, and satisfaction with their current state of health (PASS). The PASS is of particular importance as it speaks to what arguably matters most to patients—a satisfactory state of health. Finally, viewing the PASS from the perspective of variation from study to study rather than as a uniform classifier is needed to make use of the growing number of papers reporting these thresholds. Examining differences in PASS values across papers can provide insight into how well PROM scores reflect patient satisfaction in different settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-216
Number of pages3
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Arthroscopy Association of North America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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