Validation of the Trust in the Surgical Decision Scale

Ann Surg. 2020 Nov 16. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000004352. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To develop and validate a short measure of trust in the surgical decision making process.

Summary of background data: Having a reliable and valid measure of trust is important to assess the quality of the patient-surgeon relationship when decisions about surgical procedures are made.

Methods: A previously published 10-item trust scale was qualitatively tested with patients, and a revised set of 14 items was tested using a web-based survey of 300 people who had hip, knee or back surgery in the past 2 years. The 14 items were evaluated using patterns of correlations and relevance to medical decision making to create a 5-item version. A 5-item subset was compared to the 14-item version to assess reliability and validity of patient's trust in the surgical decision making process.

Results: Of the 300 participants, 32% had hip surgery, 33% had knee surgery, and 34% back surgery. Mean age was 53 years, 45% female, 80% White, and 36% had a high school degree or less. The item intercorrelations for the 14 items were 0.43-0.72 and 0.58-0.71 for the 5 items. Correlation between the versions was 0.96 (P < 0.01). The 14- and 5-item versions were positively correlated with participants' shared decision making process scores (0.42 and 0.41, both P = 0.01), internal consistency reliability scores were 0.95 and 0.89, respectively, and were negatively correlated with their Decision Regret scores (-0.51 and -0.48, both P = 0.01).

Conclusion: The 5-item Trust in the Surgical Decision Scale has strong evidence of validity and reliability for patients who underwent common orthopedic procedures.