A cross-sectional survey of patient perceptions of the National Neurosurgical Audit Programme (NNAP)

Br J Neurosurg. 2024 Apr 2:1-4. doi: 10.1080/02688697.2024.2334433. Online ahead of print.


Background: The National Neurosurgical Audit Programme (NNAP) publishes mortality outcomes of consultants and neurosurgical units across the United Kingdom. It is unclear how useful outcomes data is for patients and whether it influences their decision-making process. Our aim was to identify patients' perceptions and understanding of the NNAP data and its influences.

Materials and methods: This single-centre study was conducted in the outpatient neurosurgery clinics at a regional neurosurgical centre. All adult (age ≥ 18) neurosurgical patients, with capacity, were invited to take part. Native and non-native English speakers were eligible. Statistical analyses were performed on SPSS v28 (IBM). Ethical approval was obtained.

Results: A total of 84 responses were received (54.7% females). Over half (51.0%) of respondents felt that they understood a consultant's mortality outcomes. Educational level determines respondents' understanding (χ2(8) = 16.870; p = .031). Most respondents were unaware of the NNAP (89.0%). Only a third of respondents (35.1%) understood the funnel plot used to illustrate mortality.

Conclusions: Most patients were unaware of the NNAP and most did not understand the data on the website. Understanding of mortality data seemed to be related to respondents' educational level which would be important to keep in mind when planning how to depict mortality data.

Keywords: Neurosurgery; benchmarking; patient safety; quality improvement; registries; surveys and questionnaires.