Health practitioners’ perceptions of adopting clinical prediction rules in the management of musculoskeletal pain: a qualitative study in Australia
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Objectives: To investigate health practitioners’ understanding and practice behaviours with regards to clinical prediction rules (CPRs) and explore their perceptions of adopting a new whiplash CPR. Design: Qualitative study using six semistructured focus groups. Setting: Primary and secondary care in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. Participants: Physiotherapists (n=19), chiropractors (n=6) and osteopaths (n=3) were purposively sampled to include health practitioners who provide routine treatment to people with whiplash-associated disorders. Methods: Focus group discussions (n=6) were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using an inductive thematic approach. Results: Health practitioners’ understanding and use of CPRs were mixed. Clinicians considered components relating to acceptability (‘whether I agree with it’) and implementation (‘how I'll use it’) when deciding on whether to adopt a new CPR. Acceptability was informed by four themes: knowledge and understanding, CPR type, congruence and weighted value. Consideration of matters that promote implementation occurred once a CPR was deemed to be acceptable. Three themes were identified as potentially enhancing whiplash CPR implementation: the presence of an external driver of adoption, flexibility in how the CPR could be administered and guidance regarding communication of CPR output to patients. Conclusions: Education on CPR purpose and fit with practice is needed to enhance the perceived acceptability of CPRs. Strategies that facilitate practitioner motivation, enable administrative flexibility and assist clinicians in communicating the results of the whiplash CPR could promote adoption of the whiplash CPR.
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