There is limited evidence on the comparative performance of private and public healthcare. Our aim was to compare outcomes following surgery for lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in private versus public hospitals.
Data were obtained from the Norwegian registry for spine surgery. Primary outcome was change in Oswestry disability index (ODI) 1 year after surgery. Secondary endpoints were quality of life (EuroQol EQ-5D), back and leg pain, complications, and duration of surgery and hospital stays.
Among 5221 patients, 1728 in the private group and 3493 in the public group, 3624 (69.4%) completed 1-year follow-up. In the private group, mean improvement in ODI was 28.8 points vs 32.3 points in the public group (mean difference -?3.5, 95% CI -?5.0 to -?1.9; P for equivalence