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Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Jul;26(7):1061-6. Epub 2006 Oct 18.

Improving management of musculoskeletal disorders in primary care: the Joint Adventures Program.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. petrella@uwo.ca


Musculoskeletal disorders represent a large and growing clinical challenge to primary care clinicians. Unfortunately, there appears to be a gap in current training and continuing education to meet this challenge. We used script concordance within a continuing medical education program entitled "Joint Adventures" to assist family physicians to acquire the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to improve their management of musculoskeletal disorders. Program workshops were coordinated through a national continuing education program of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. A group of 54 experts in musculoskeletal disorders including family physicians, rheumatologists, and orthopedists developed cases for six areas of management that were identified by family physicians during a needs survey delivered at a national scientific congress in primary care. Script concordance methodology was used in the Joint Adventures workshop to address knowledge gaps or lack of group consensus in the six areas including (1) diagnosis of osteoarthritis, (2) treatment and management of osteoarthritis, (3) treatment and management of rheumatoid arthritis, (4) diagnosis and treatment of back pain, (5) diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia and diagnosis, and (6) treatment of shoulder pain. Each workshop session included 5-30 family physicians, a specialist expert, and a family physician facilitator. Before each session, a group needs assessment was conducted to identify which one or two of the six cases would be used. Perceived knowledge and skill acquisition, self-assessed change in practice, and satisfaction with the program were measured at the conclusion of each session and again at 3 months post program. All programs were delivered from March 2003 to September 2005. Six hundred and fifty family physicians from across Canada completed the program. In general, participants reached concordance with each case. Measures of knowledge and skill acquisition and self-assessed change in practice were significantly improved with high rates of program satisfaction. The Joint Adventures program provided family physicians with knowledge and skills that changed their care of musculoskeletal disorders. This was achieved using consensus that was sensitive to local needs. Further use should be evaluated in other areas of medical practice as well.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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