Objective: Musculoskeletal problems like hip and knee osteoarthritis and low-back pain are preference sensitive conditions. Patient engagement strategies (PES), such as shared decision-making and motivational interviewing, can help align patients' preferences with treatment options and potentially reduce spending. We assess the association of physician practice-level adoption of PES with utilisation and spending.
Design: Cross-sectional study in which patients were matched across low, moderate and high levels of PES via coarsened exact matching.
Setting: Primary and secondary care in 2190 physician practices.
Participants: 39 336 hip, 48 362 knee and 67 940 low-back patients who were Medicare beneficiaries were matched to the 2017-2018 National Survey of Healthcare Organizations and Systems.
Primary and secondary outcome measures: Total hip replacement (THR), total knee replacement (TKR), 1-2 level posterior lumbar fusion (LF), total annual spending, components of total annual spending.
Results: Total annual spending for patients with musculoskeletal problems did not differ for practices with low versus moderate PES, low versus high PES or moderate versus high PES, but spending was significantly lower in some categories for practices with relatively higher PES adoption. For hospital-owned and health system-owned practices, the ORs of receiving LF were 0.632 (95% CI 0.396 to 1.009) for patients attributed to practices with high PES compared with patients attributed to practices with moderate PES. For independent practices, the odds of receiving THR were 1.403 (95% CI 1.035 to 1.902) for patients attributed to practices with moderate PES compared with patients attributed to practices with low PES.
Conclusions: Practice-level adoption of PES for patients with musculoskeletal problems was generally not associated with total spending. PES, however, may steer patients toward evidence-based treatments. Opportunities for overall spending reduction exist as indicated by the variation in the subcomponents of total spending by PES adoption.
Keywords: health policy; musculoskeletal disorders; orthopaedic & trauma surgery.
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