Previously published as: British Journal of Clinical Governance
Online from: 2003
Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare
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|Title:||Orthopaedic physiotherapy practitioners: Surgical and radiological referral rates|
|Author(s):||Martin Rabey, (St Sampson's Medical Centre, St Sampson's, Guernsey, UK), Sharon Morgans, (St Mary's NHS Trust, London, UK), Cathy Barrett, (St Mary's NHS Trust, London, UK)|
|Citation:||Martin Rabey, Sharon Morgans, Cathy Barrett, (2009) "Orthopaedic physiotherapy practitioners: Surgical and radiological referral rates", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 14 Iss: 1, pp.15 - 19|
|Keywords:||Auditing, Orthopaedics, Physiotherapy, Radiology|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/14777270910933424 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the scepticism that persists among medics regarding appropriateness of some aspects of services provided by extended scope physiotherapists (ESPs). This paper aims to highlight the extent and appropriateness of surgical and radiological referrals by ESPs working in an adult orthopaedic service.
Design/methodology/approach – The patient pathway following ESP assessment was audited over 31 months. Parameters explored included ESP referral rates to orthopaedic consultants; the percentage of patients where the entire episode of care was managed by the ESP; whether orthopaedic referrals were appropriate in terms of surgical interventions; and numbers of radiology referrals specifically for knee or lumbar complaints.
Findings – Of the patients, 79 per cent had their entire episode of care managed by ESPs. Of the patients, 9 per cent were referred on for a surgical opinion (of which 42 per cent knees, 20 per cent lumbar). 13 per cent were referred for x-rays, 10 per cent for magnetic resonance imaging. Of the patients referred on for surgical opinion surgical intervention was appropriate in 89 per cent of cases.
Research limitations/implications – Data from an ESP service with broad guiding protocols in a specific hospital are not readily extrapolated to ESPs elsewhere. Appropriateness of onwards referrals was based on the opinions of consultants to whom patients were referred. The potential benefit of a second opinion even if surgery is not offered is not taken into account by this model.
Practical implications – These audits reinforce the impact ESPs have on efficiency within orthopaedics. They document referral rates for x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging by ESPs for lumbar and knee complaints that may benefit units proposing new ESP services.
Originality/value – This paper reinforces published data on ESP management of the entire episode of care of the majority of referrals to orthopaedics, and on the highly appropriate nature of onwards referrals. Documented for possibly the first time, data regarding investigations for lumbar and knee disorders highlight low referral rates.
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