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81 Indicators to monitor the quality of care for low back pain in Australia: a scoping review
  1. Bayden McKenzie1,
  2. Romi Haas1,
  3. Giovanni Ferreira2,
  4. Chris Maher2,
  5. Rachelle Buchbinder1
  1. 1Monash University, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2The University of Sydney, Sydney Musculoskeletal Health, Sydney, Australia


Objectives The 2018 Lancet Low Back Pain (LBP) Series identified a need to develop an internationally agreed minimal national data set to monitor and benchmark global efforts to reduce the burden of LBP. The aim of this scoping review was to identify existing LBP quality-of-care indicators that are routinely collected and accessible for use in Australia as a starting point.

Method We included any Australian data source at a national or state level that reports or collects at least one quality of care indicator for LBP. We searched websites of known government health departments and organisations from November 2022 to April 2023 and used a snowballing approach to identify further data sources. One reviewer independently charted the data followed by verification by a second reviewer. A narrative synthesis was performed.

Results 68 representatives from Australian government departments and organisations were contacted and we identified relevant data from 17 unique sources. National government data include prevalence of ‘back problems’, hospitalisations and length of hospital stays for LBP, number of spine surgeries and imaging, and workforce participation with and without back pain. Indicators collected by state workers compensation authorities include number of claims, total/average days lost due to injury, total/average claim costs and number of requests for imaging for ‘low back injury’. State government health departments and ambulance services do not routinely collect quality-of-care indicators specifically for people with LBP.

Conclusions There is a paucity of LBP quality-of-care indicators that are publicly accessible at a state and national level in Australia. Our findings will inform an international Delphi study to develop an internationally agreed national minimum dataset of indicators for LBP that could be used by all countries to monitor progress in reducing the global burden of this condition.

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