Clinical prediction rules (CPR) have been promoted as a natural progression in treatment decision-making. Methodological limitations of derivation and validation studies have resulted in some researchers questioning the indiscriminate use of CPRs. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of the lumbar spine manipulation CPR (LCPR) use on clinical decision making through a survey of practicing clinicians. A sample of 535 physiotherapists from the United States, who routinely use thrust manipulation (TM), agreed to participate in this study. Those who use and those who do not use the LCPR determined group designation. A 9-step clinical vignette progressed a fictitious patient meeting the LCPR from no medical concern to significant concern for general health. A 2 × 9 chi-square was used to analyze the progression of decision-making. APTA board certification (P = 0.04), gender (P < 0.01), and manual therapy course attendance (P = 0.04) may increase and following the McKenzie philosophy (P < 0.01) may decrease the use of the LCPR. Subjects using the LCPR were more likely to choose to manipulate the patient (P < 0.01 and P = 0.02) during the first 2 scenarios of the vignette but both groups avoided TM equally as the medical concerns progressed. The results would suggest that subjects who routinely use TM would modify their decision-making to accommodate medical complications that preclude the indication for TM, and hence a potentially harmful intervention. This propensity to modify behaviour, was seen in both groups, regardless of their initial tendency to use the LCPR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical Prediction Rules (CPRs) have been developed to assist in the physiotherapy management of low back pain (LBP) although little is known about the factors that may influence their implementation in clinical practice. This study used qualitative research methodology to explore the knowledge, attitudes and practices/behaviours of physiotherapists in relation to these tools. Four semi-structured focus groups involving 26 musculoskeletal physiotherapists were conducted across three Australian geographic regions. A fictitious LBP case scenario was developed and used to facilitate group discussion. Participant knowledge of CPRs was found to be mixed, with some clinicians never having previously encountered the term or concept. LBP CPRs were often conceptualised as a formalisation of pattern recognition. Attitudes towards CPRs expressed by study participants were wide-ranging with several facilitating and inhibiting views identified. It was felt that more experienced clinicians had limited need of such tools. Only a small number of participants expressed that they had ever used LBP CPRs in clinical practice. To optimise the successful adoption of an LBP CPR, researchers should consider avoiding the use of the term 'rule' and ensure that the tool and its interface are uncomplicated and easy to use. Understanding potential barriers, the needs of clinicians and the context in which CPRs will be implemented will help facilitate the development of tools with the highest potential to positively influence physiotherapy practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A strong understanding of diagnostic imaging has been advocated for physical therapists. There have been recent changes in physical therapy curricula and increased opportunities to utilize imaging during clinical practice.
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