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New measurement tool, better treatment outcomes

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A new outcome measure to help evaluate the effectiveness of treatment to patients with musculoskeletal conditions has been identified by Provide’s Physiotherapy Outpatients Service.

For the last 12 months the service has used the Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire (MSK-HQ) to accurately measure whether treatments to patients have been successful.

The measurement tool consists of 14 items capturing outcomes such as pain, function, sleep, physical activity and psychological impact. It is used by the service at the beginning and end of care.

A recent review of patient outcome data showed that since last April more than 90 per cent of patients improved with physiotherapy management from the service, significantly higher than the threshold for demonstrating a clinically meaningful difference.

This comes after it was identified that the service’s previous outcome measure was not suitable to assess whether treatment had improved a patient’s pain, function or general wellbeing.

Scott Baker, Clinical Manager at the Physiotherapy Outpatient Service, said: “The use of a generic musculoskeletal outcome measure for all patients with a musculoskeletal condition was long overdue and the use of the MSK-HQ within the service will provide invaluable data on how effective our treatment is and where we can improve.

“The MSK-HQ should become the cornerstone for measuring treatment effectiveness when managing people with musculoskeletal conditions, not just within our physiotherapy service but all healthcare services delivering care for this patient group.”

Scott added: “The high level of improvement for patients receiving treatment in the service shows an outstanding effort by the team, especially given the current constraints and we are delighted that people are benefiting from the care we are giving.”

The MSK-HQ was published by Keele University with the support of Arthritis Research UK in 2014 and validated in the British Medical Journal for clinical use in 2016.

Ongoing work using the MSK-HQ to evaluate the effectiveness of treating patients with different musculoskeletal problems will continue over the coming months as part of further service development projects.

Read more about the MSK outcome on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) website.

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