Calculator improves MSK data

Panos Sarigiovannis describes a tool designed to show whether MSK patients are showing clinical improvement 

Musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy teams within the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have in the past used various outcome measures, in line with CSP recommendations. But not all teams used the same measure, so data collection, inputting and analysis methods varied considerably.

As the trust’s professional lead for physiotherapy, I introduced Arthritis Research UK’s MSK-HQ outcome measure but no tool was available for inputting and analysing data. Working with colleagues from the trust’s performance team, we designed and developed a tool based on feedback from physiotherapy operational and clinical leads.  

The tool includes the following fields: NHS number, date of birth, gender, postcode (linked to electoral ward and corresponding CCG), duration and location of symptoms, clinical diagnosis/impression, clinician’s name and banding, whether the patient was treated in a group, treatment outcome on discharge, and MSK-HQ pre- and post-treatment scores. The calculator shows whether a minimally important change (MIC) has been achieved based on those outcome scores.  

The tool was introduced gradually to our teams last year, facilitating the implementation of the MSK-HQ as a standardised outcome measure within the trust’s MSK physiotherapy services. We have now exceeded 4,000 complete datasets – that is, completed pre- and post-treatment questionnaires.  

Feedback about the MSK-HQ has been positive – from clinicians, GPs and commissioners, and most importantly from patients. 

Our data has been consistent across all teams and we have demonstrated that over 80 per cent of our patients achieve a significant clinical improvement following treatment.

The calculator can be adapted by other physiotherapy MSK services. It enhances the implementation and clinical use of a standardised outcome measure by providing clear guidance on data collection and interpretation of results, although further work is needed to link the calculator with the electronic patient record system, which will simplify data collection.  

I’ve received a number of requests to share the tool and have recently been given permission to do so with other NHS trusts free of charge. 

If you would like to receive a copy of the calculator please email me:

  • Panos Sarigiovannis is professional lead for physiotherapy at Midlands Partnership NHS Trust

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