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Title: Evaluation of an evidence based quality improvement innovation for patients with musculoskeletal low back pain in an accident and emergency setting
Authors: Potier, T
Tims, E
Kilbride, C
Rantell, K
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 4, (1): (2015)
Abstract: We conducted a five stage pilot study which initially consisted of a review of 75 case notes of people attending an emergency department (ED) in an inner London Teaching Hospital with musculoskeletal (MSK) low back pain (LBP). This review highlighted inconsistencies in how they were assessed and managed across and within different staff groups. We found patient documentation was often incomplete and that a biomedical model approach to the management of these patients was common. As a result, four further stages in the project were conducted. Our primary aim was to evaluate the impact of implementing a locally developed quality improvement intervention for the assessment and treatment of MSK LBP in this ED. Secondary aims were to explore the user experience of the new pathway, measured by the patient experience questionnaire (PEQ), and any associated health economic costs of changes in practice. The quality improvement intervention consisted of an evidence based low back pain pathway (EBLBPP), a staff educational program, and a patient education booklet. We undertook a retrospective baseline audit of 100 clinical records of patients was undertaken prior to the instigation of the quality improvement intervention, and four months post implementation. The pre-defined variables of interest were: documentation of the case history, examination, classification of back pain (and if correct), prescribed management and if the documentation was compliant with medico-legal standards. All patients in the study were sent a PEQ to complete and return in a self-addressed envelope. Estimated health costs associated with each patient episode of care were calculated including re-attendance episodes for any people presenting with MSK LBP within a four week period. There was a significant improvement in all areas evaluated post implementation in all groups (simple, referred and simple, referred and serious spinal pathology combined). In particular; screening for red flags (22%) and iopsychosocial factors (29%), as well as noting the prevalence of previous symptoms (44%), observation of the painful area (57%), and analysis classification (59%) at a at 95% confidence interval (CI). In terms of management, an increase in adherence to the analgesic ladder, patients receiving reassurance and appropriate referral back to their GP’s increased 45%, 23% and 44% at 95% CI respectively. Unfortunately, there was insufficient data to draw any meaningful conclusions from the patient experience data due to a low response rate. In conclusion, the introduction of the EBLBPP, patient education leaflet and teaching training for staff involved in the treatment of MSK LBP patients has improved the quality and consistency of the documented assessment and subsequent management of MSK LBP patients.
ISSN: 2050-1315
Appears in Collections:Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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