Stratified Care May Be Best Option for Back Pain Patients

Study finds that patients fare better and that care costs less

THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Stratifying back pain patients by prognosis may be more effective and less costly than a one-size-fits-all approach, according to research published online Sept. 29 in The Lancet.

Jonathan C. Hill, Ph.D., of Keele University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recruited 851 adults 18 and older with back pain to compare the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a model of management based on stratifying patients in primary care by prognosis with a model based on non-stratified current best practice. The patients were randomly assigned with a 2:1 ratio to an intervention (stratified care) or control (exercise or manual therapy) group.

The researchers found that, compared with those in the control group, patients in the intervention group experienced significant improvements in disability scores at both four and 12 months. Interventional treatment also cost about £34.39 less than conventional treatment.

"The results show that a stratified approach, by use of prognostic screening with matched pathways, will have important implications for the future management of back pain in primary care," the authors write.

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