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Benchmarking community/primary care musculoskeletal services: A narrative review and recommendation

Burgess, Roanna; Lewis, Martyn; Hill, Jonathan


Roanna Burgess


INTRODUCTION: High quality data on service performance is essential in healthcare to evidence efficacy, efficiency, and value. There remains a paucity of publicly reported data in community and primary care musculoskeletal (MSK) services. There is also a lack of guidance on which metrics MSK services should be collecting and reporting, and how this data could be used to directly improve patient outcomes, experiences, and value. METHOD: A narrative review of the evidence around benchmarking MSK services was undertaken with a focus on how to develop routine data collection within community/primary care settings, and how to develop benchmarking capabilities for the future, looking towards a national MSK audit. This evidence was triangulated with the findings from recent MSK data studies undertaken by the authors and emerging UK policy and guidance in this area. RECOMMENDATIONS: To enable MSK benchmarking services need to collect consistent, standardised outcomes and, therefore, we have developed a recommendation on a minimum MSK 'core outcome set' of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) (PROMs: MSK-HQ, NPRS, WPAI; PREMs: National MSK PREM). In addition, we make recommendations on the use of a standardised evidence-based method for case-mix adjustment and outlier identification (using the following baseline demographics and clinical factors; age, sex, ethnicity, pain site, comorbidities, duration of symptoms, previous surgery, previous pain episodes), alongside considerations on how this data should be integrated and reported within NHS systems. CONCLUSIONS: Capturing high quality MSK data in a standardised, consistent, and sustainable way is a significant challenge. Policy holders, commissioners, managers, and clinicians need to be realistic with expectations, and take time to explore barriers to implementation including, funding, digital infrastructure/intra-operability, data sharing/governance, digital literacy, and local/national leadership. Next steps include developing a national MSK audit programme to provide a benchmarking model to support continuous improvements in care quality for patients living with MSK conditions.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 11, 2022
Publication Date Mar 1, 2023
Journal Musculoskeletal Care
Print ISSN 1478-2189
Publisher Wiley
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 148-158
Keywords Nursing (miscellaneous), Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Chiropractics, Rheumatology