Research: PhysioDirect & Patients with MSK Problems

Research Paper Title:

Effectiveness of PhysioDirect Telephone Assessment and Advice Services for Patients with Musculoskeletal Problems: Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial.

Study Question:

Are PhysioDirect services, based on initial telephone assessment and advice from a physiotherapist, as effective as usual care involving patients waiting for a face-to-face appointment?

Summary Answer:

Patients allocated to PhysioDirect received treatment more quickly than those allocated to usual care, and had equivalent clinical outcomes.

What Is Known And What This Paper Adds:

PhysioDirect services have been introduced to improve access to physiotherapy, but it is unknown whether they are clinically effective. In this study, clinical outcomes from PhysioDirect were equivalent to those from usual care; although patients received PhysioDirect treatment more quickly, the service was associated with increased patient satisfaction.

Source: BMJ 2013;346:f43.

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