Improving Functional Outcomes for Patients with Low Back Pain by Ensuring the Use of Evidence-Based Practice

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The worldwide estimated prevalence of people with low back pain was 577 million in 2017 and continues to grow. Low back pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability in the US and the cost of low back pain has been shown to be up to $102 billion per year in the US. Research has shown that with the use of evidence-based practice there are improved patient outcomes as well as efficiency of performance. Historical barriers to the use of evidence-based practice include lack of time to critically review the literature, difficulty applying the guidelines and decreased self-efficacy in delivering the care. The aim of this project was that 70% of Jefferson outpatient physical therapists would provide a greater than 10% reduction in Oswestry Low Back Pain Questionnaire (version 2) scores comparing three months pre-implementation with two months post implementation. The Six Sigma improvement process was used to coordinate and communicate the project. Active learning approaches included group mentoring and the creation of quick references guides that were used to improve the use of evidence-based practice and patient outcomes. The project demonstrated an increase in the use of additional outcome measures in line with current evidence but did not meet the goal of 70% of staff demonstrating an Oswestry score change of 10% or greater on average.



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