Physiotherapy triage assessment of patients referred for orthopaedic consultation

The literature suggests that physiotherapy triage assessment can be efficient for patients referred for orthopaedic consultation, however long-term follow up of patient reported outcome measures are not available. This paper aims to report a long-term evaluation of patient-reported health-related quality of life, pain-related disability, and sick leave after a physiotherapy triage assessment of patients referred for orthopaedic consultation compared with standard practice. Patients referred for orthopaedic consultation (n = 208) were placed at random into either physiotherapy triage assessment or standard practice. The randomised cohort was analysed on an intention-to-treat (ITT) basis. The patient reported outcome measures EuroQol VAS (self-reported health-state), EuroQol 5D-3L (EQ-5D) and Pain Disability Index (PDI) were assessed at baseline and after 3, 6 and 12 months. EQ VAS was analysed using a repeated measure ANOVA. PDI and EQ-5D were analysed using a marginal logistic regression model. Sick leave was analysed for the 12 months following consultation using a Mann-Whitney U-test. The patients rated a significantly better health-state at 3 after physiotherapy triage assessment [mean difference -5.7 (95% CI -11.1; -0.2); p = 0.04]. There weren’t any other statistically significant differences in perceived health-related quality of life or pain related disability between the groups at any of the follow-ups, or sick leave.

This study reports that the long-term follow up of the patient related outcome measures health-related quality of life, pain-related disability and sick leave following physiotherapy triage assessment did not differ from standard practice, suggesting the potential benefits of implementation of this model of care.