Creating a Valuable Patient Information Resource for MSK Conditions: By Not Re-inventing the Wheel


Patient information and education resources are considered by many to be a valuable means to supporting self-management. Information and education can be delivered in a variety of formats such as printable materials i.e patient information leaflets and audiovisual materials i.e websites and apps. There is a diverse range and amount of patient education and information resources available as most NHS organisations, as well as governing bodies, charities, specialist societies and private companies commission their own. This is often done unilaterally, without peer review and without involving patients. It is also commonly done without reviewing already available information and the evidence that should underpin the information given. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of self-management and that high quality information and education can be a vital resource for providing people with the tools to manage their condition when face to face consultations are not available. The aim of this project was to review current published patient information resources for MSK conditions and identify high quality resources that the MSK department could provide to patients.


Prevalence of MSK conditions both nationally and locally were identified to help initiate the review of MSK conditions starting with the most prevalent conditions. A PRISMA style flow process was used to systematically identify existing patient information resources across 12 MSK conditions. The inclusion criteria were very broad and included leaflets, resources and infographics produced by other NHS trusts, large charities, MSK specialist societies and interest groups, private companies and individuals. Only leaflets and resources using clearly outdated evidence and advice were excluded. The Patient Education Materials and Assessment Tool (PEMAT) was used to evaluate each resource. This was performed by the Patient Information Project Team (PIPT), consisting of five physiotherapy clinicians from band 5 to band 8. The tool scores the understandability and actionability of printable and audio-visual materials.


Results: In total 89 resources were screened and 64 resources were reviewed using the PEMAT tool across 12 MSK conditions. The 12 top scoring resources for each MSK condition were taken through for review and editing by the Patient Information Project Team (PIPT). At this point comments were sought from the wider department to improve the language used, style and layout, and evidence-base of the clinical information and exercises. This lead to 12 approved resources for use.

Conclusion(s): High quality, standardised patient information and education resources can now be consistently provided by the MSK department both on paper and electronically to patients for 12 MSK conditions.

Cost and savings

Approx 4 hours per month of clinical time was used for this project. Beyond that we font have additional cost data or savings.


This project outlines an alternative way of reviewing and thus producing patient information resources. Instead of everyone working in silos on their own resources, an agreed and approved collection of resources could be produced by using the methods we adopted. On a national scale this would need to be lead by NHS England and other key national stakeholders.

Top three learning points

No further information. 

Funding acknowledgements

This work was unfunded.