Background: To report results obtained by combining risk sharing tools with post-adoption surveillance mechanisms in order to control quality of care and implement a value-based reimbursement scheme for Neuro-reflexotherapy (NRT), a non-pharmacological treatment proven effective for neck pain (NP), thoracic pain (TP) and low back pain (LBP).
Methods: Pre-post prospective cohort study in routine clinical practice, carried out in primary care centers in the Spanish National Health Service in the Balearic Islands (Ib-Salut). Eight-hundred and seventy-one subacute and chronic NP, TP and LBP patients treated in Ib-Salut, who underwent NRT during 2011. A shared risk contract (SRC) was developed, where payments for NRT were linked to results on patients' clinical evolution, reduction in medication and proportion of patients undergoing spinal surgery. Main outcome measures were local pain (NP, TP or LBP), referred pain, LBP-related disability and NP-related disability, measured using previously validated instruments at referral and 3 months later, use of medication assessed at referral and discharge, and rates of spinal surgery prescription after undergoing NRT.
Results: Median improvements at discharge corresponded to 57.1% of baseline value for local pain, 75.0% for referred pain, 53.8% for LBP-related disability and 45.0% for NP-related disability. Patients taking medication at discharge represented 29.0% of those taking it at referral. The proportion of patients in whom spinal surgery was prescribed after undergoing NRT was 0%. These results were consistent with those from previous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and studies in routine practice, and complied with the standards set in the SRC.
Conclusions: It is feasible and effective to enhance post adoption surveillance methods with risk sharing tools to improve quality control and support value-based reimbursement decisions for NRT. The feasibility of generalising this approach to other settings and to other non-pharmacological treatments should be explored.