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Clinical practice in line with evidence?: A survey among primary care physiotherapists in western Sweden
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Närhälsan Rehabilitation, Region Västra Götaland, Hönö, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Community Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Evaluation In Clinical Practice, ISSN 1356-1294, E-ISSN 1365-2753, Vol. 21, no 6, 1169-1177 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rationale, aims and objectives

Evidence-based practice is becoming increasingly important in primary care physiotherapy. Clinical practice needs to reflect current best evidence and be concordant with evidence-based clinical guidelines. There is limited knowledge about therapeutic interventions used in primary care physiotherapy in Sweden. The objectives were to examine preferred treatment interventions reported by publicly employed physiotherapists in primary care for three common musculoskeletal disorders (low back pain, neck pain and subacromial pain), the extent to which these interventions were supported by evidence, and associations with demographic variables.

Methods

419 physiotherapists in primary care in western Sweden were surveyed using a validated web-based questionnaire.

Results

The survey was completed by 271 respondents (65%). Median number of interventions reported was 7 (range 1–16). The most common treatment interventions across the three conditions were advice on posture (reported by 82–94%), advice to stay active (86–92%), and different types of exercise (65–92%). Most of these interventions were supported by evidence. However, interventions with insufficient evidence, such as advice on posture, TENS and aquatic exercise, were also used by 29–96%. Modalities such as laser therapy and ultrasound were sparingly used (<5%), which is in line with evidence. For neck pain, use of evidence-based interventions was associated with gender and for subacromial pain, with work experience.

Conclusions

Advice and exercise therapy were the interventions most frequently reported across the three diagnoses, illustrating an active treatment strategy. While most reported interventions are supported by evidence, interventions with unclear or no evidence of effect were also used to a high extent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015. Vol. 21, no 6, 1169-1177 p.
Keyword [en]
clinical practice, evidence, evidence-based practice, interventions, physical therapy, treatment
National Category
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy Family Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122555DOI: 10.1111/jep.12380ISI: 000371414500032PubMedID: 25988993OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-122555DiVA: diva2:868011
Note

Funding agencies: local Research and Development Board for Gothenburg and Sodra Bohuslan; Linkoping University

Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-09 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Advancing evidence-based practice in primary care physiotherapy: Guideline implementation, clinical practice, and patient preferences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Advancing evidence-based practice in primary care physiotherapy: Guideline implementation, clinical practice, and patient preferences
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research on physiotherapy treatment interventions has increased dramatically in the past 25 years and it is a challenge to transfer research findings into clinical practice, so that patients benefit from effective treatment. Development of clinical practice guidelines is a potentially useful strategy to implement research evidence into practice. However, the impact of guideline implementation in Swedish primary care physiotherapy is unknown. To achieve evidence-based practice (EBP), research evidence should be integrated with clinical expertise and patient preferences, but knowledge is limited about these factors in Swedish primary care physiotherapy.

The overall aim of this thesis was to increase understanding of factors of importance for the implementation of EBP in Swedish primary care physiotherapy. Specific aims were: to translate and adapt a questionnaire for the measurement of EBP and guidelines; to investigate physiotherapists’ attitudes, knowledge and behaviour related to EBP and guidelines; to examine clinical practice patterns; to evaluate the effects of a tailored guideline implementation strategy; and to explore patients’ preferences for physiotherapy.

The thesis comprises four studies (A-D), reported in five papers. In Study A, a questionnaire for the measurement of EBP and guidelines was translated, cross-culturally adapted, and tested for validity (n=10) and reliability (n=42). Study B was a cross-sectional study in which this questionnaire was used to survey primary care physiotherapists in the county council Region Västra Götaland (n=271). In Study C, a strategy for the implementation of guidelines was developed and evaluated, using the same questionnaire (n=271 at baseline, n=256 at follow-up), in a prospective controlled trial. The strategy was based on an implementation model, was tailored to address the determinants of guideline use identified in Study B, and comprised several components including an educational seminar. Study D was an exploratory qualitative study of patients with musculoskeletal disorders (n=20), using qualitative content analysis.

The validity and reliability of the questionnaire was found to be satisfactory. Most physiotherapists have a positive regard for EBP and guidelines, although these attitudes are not fully reflected in the reported use of guidelines. The most important determinants of  guideline use were considering guidelines important to facilitate practice and knowing how to integrate patient preferences with guidelines. The tailored, multi-component guideline implementation significantly affected awareness of, knowledge of, and access to guidelines. Use of guidelines was significantly affected among those who attended an implementation seminar. Clinical practice for common musculoskeletal conditions included interventions supported by evidence of various strengths as well as interventions with insufficient research evidence. The most frequently reported interventions were advice and exercise therapy. The interviewed patients expressed trust and confidence in the professionalism of physiotherapists and in the therapists’ ability to choose appropriate treatment, rendering treatment preferences subordinate. This trust seemed to foster active engagement in their physiotherapy.

In conclusion: The adapted questionnaire can be used to reliably measure EBP in physiotherapy. The positive attitudes found do not necessarily translate to guideline use, due to several perceived barriers. The tailored guideline implementation strategy used can be effective to reduce barriers and contribute to increased use of guidelines. The clinical practice patterns identified suggest that physiotherapists rely both on research evidence and their clinical expertise when choosing treatment methods. Patients’ trust in their physiotherapist’s competence and preference for active engagement in their therapy need to be embraced by the clinician and, together with the therapist’s clinical expertise, integrated with guideline use in the clinical decision making. Further research is needed on how the EBP components and different knowledge sources can be integrated in physiotherapy practice, as well as on implementation effects on patient outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 105 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1486
National Category
Physiotherapy Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122558 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-122558 (DOI)978-91-7685-935-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-09, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-09 Last updated: 2015-11-30Bibliographically approved

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Bernhardsson, SusanneÖberg, BirgittaJohansson, KajsaNilsen, Per

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