Objectives To evaluate the practice performance of general practitioners (GPs) and GP residents in recognising and referring patients suspected for having axial or peripheral spondyloarthritis (SpA), and to investigate the influence of education on this performance.
Methods GP (residents) were visited in two rounds by standardised patients (SPs) simulating axial SpA, peripheral SpA or carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) with in between an educational intervention on SpA for part of the participants. Participants were unaware of the nature of the medical problem and study purpose. CTS was included as diversionary tactic. The primary outcome was ≥40% improvement in (considering) referral of the SPs with SpA to the rheumatologist after education. Secondary outcomes included ordering additional diagnostic tests, correct recognition of SpA and identification of variables contributing to this.
Results 68 participants (30 GPs and 38 GP residents) were included, of which 19 received education. The primary outcome was met. A significantly higher proportion of GP (residents) from the intervention group referred patients to the rheumatologist compared with the control group after education (change scores, axial SpA +71% vs +15% (p<0.01); peripheral SpA +48% vs 0% (p<0.001)). Participants who received education, more frequently correctly recognised SpA compared with controls (change scores, axial SpA +50% vs −5% (p<0.001); peripheral SpA +21% vs 0% (p=0.01).
Conclusions Recognition and referral of patients suspected for having SpA by GP (residents) is low, but targeted education markedly improved this. This supports the development of educational initiatives to improve recognition of SpA and hence referral to a rheumatologist.
- Low Back Pain
- Outcomes research
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.