The study demonstrates that 68.4% of patients demonstrated a significant clinical improvement. The EQ5D index improved significantly, by +0.203, setting a new benchmark for physiotherapy. Connect Health is the largest specialised provider of community musculoskeletal (MSK) services in the UK.
Commenting on the study results, Connect’s Executive Chair, Prof Andrew Walton says:
“We are thrilled that this study clearly shows the benefits of Connect’s community physiotherapy services. It demonstrates the significant impact that our services have on patients’ quality of life and will give GPs renewed confidence to refer patients to community physiotherapy services rather than over-stretched and expensive secondary care services.”
The data from the Connect Health/Northumbria University study will also enable Connect to break down Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMS) to an individual clinician level, enabling the sharing of best practice and the improvement of services, which they hope will also reduce the variation in services across the UK.
Since the study concluded, Connect Health has introduced a new programme of Clinical Guidelines which has already demonstrated improved EQ5D outcomes in comparison to the retrospective data set, with some services achieving monthly improvements of +0.25.
The quality of life improvements seen both in the retrospective data set survey and the more recent data suggest that physiotherapy services from Connect Health may begin to compete with the quality of life improvements seen following traditionally successful surgical procedures, but at significantly lower cost. In addition where some surgical procedures such as knee arthroscopy in degenerate knees are being challenged as non-evidence-based, physiotherapy rehabilitation becomes the best option. This type of data should influence the reduction of unnecessary referrals to secondary care and avoidable surgery and costs.
The study, run in partnership with Northumbria University, was based on the experience of more than 4,000 patients. The results of the study are being presented at the Physiotherapy UK National Conference this November. Prior to this study, the benchmark for mean improvement in amalgamated studies was +0.16; statistically significantly lower than the quality of life improvements seen with Connect Health’s community physiotherapy services.
The results of the study, which analyses data from January 2011 to April 2016, will help to fill the gap in the evidence-base for community physiotherapy which exists due to poor data collection capabilities.
EQ5D – quality of life improvements
EQ5D is a widely used Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) or Clinical Outcome in the NHS, it provides a measure of quality of life across five dimensions:
- Washing and dressing ability
- Ability to perform usual activities
- Pain level
- Mobility level
These dimensions are scored and converted into a number which has a maximum score of 1 (perfect health) but would usually be expressed as a number below 1 e.g. 0.36.
Connect has developed a unique set of clinical guidelines covering the top 10 most common conditions in order to deliver and measure the most clinically effective care. See infographic here: http://www.connecthealth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Connect-Health-10-out-of-10-Infographic.pdf