↓ Skip to main content

Professional interventions for general practitioners on the management of musculoskeletal conditions

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2016
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (92nd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (68th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 blog
20 tweeters
2 Facebook pages


23 Dimensions

Readers on

335 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Professional interventions for general practitioners on the management of musculoskeletal conditions
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, May 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd007495.pub2
Pubmed ID

Victoria Tzortziou Brown, Martin Underwood, Noman Mohamed, Olwyn Westwood, Dylan Morrissey


Musculoskeletal conditions require particular management skills. Identification of interventions which are effective in equipping general practitioners (GPs) with such necessary skills could translate to improved health outcomes for patients and reduced healthcare and societal costs. To determine the effectiveness of professional interventions for GPs that aim to improve the management of musculoskeletal conditions in primary care.  SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), 2010, Issue 2; MEDLINE, Ovid (1950 - October 2013); EMBASE, Ovid (1980 - Ocotber 2013); CINAHL, EbscoHost (1980 - November 2013), and the EPOC Specialised Register. We conducted cited reference searches using ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar; and handsearched selected issues of Arthritis and Rheumatism and Primary Care-Clinics in Office Practice. The latest search was conducted in November 2013. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomised controlled trials (NRCTs), controlled before-and-after studies (CBAs) and interrupted time series (ITS) studies of professional interventions for GPs, taking place in a community setting, aiming to improve the management (including diagnosis and treatment) of musculoskeletal conditions and reporting any objective measure of GP behaviour, patient or economic outcomes. We considered professional interventions of any length, duration, intensity and complexity compared with active or inactive controls. Two review authors independently abstracted all data. We calculated the risk difference (RD) and risk ratio (RR) of compliance with desired practice for dichotomous outcomes, and the mean difference (MD) and standardised mean difference (SMD) for continuous outcomes. We investigated whether the direction of the targeted behavioural change affects the effectiveness of interventions. Thirty studies met our inclusion criteria.From 11 studies on osteoporosis, meta-analysis of five studies (high-certainty evidence) showed that a combination of a GP alerting system on a patient's increased risk of osteoporosis and a patient-directed intervention (including patient education and a reminder to see their GP) improves GP behaviour with regard to diagnostic bone mineral density (BMD) testing and osteoporosis medication prescribing (RR 4.44; (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.54 to 5.55; 3 studies; 3,386 participants)) for BMD and RR 1.71 (95% CI 1.50 to 1.94; 5 studies; 4,223 participants) for osteoporosis medication. Meta-analysis of two studies showed that GP alerting on its own also probably improves osteoporosis guideline-consistent GP behaviour (RR 4.75 (95% CI 3.62 to 6.24; 3,047 participants)) for BMD and RR 1.52 (95% CI 1.26 to 1.84; 3.047 participants) for osteoporosis medication) and that adding the patient-directed component probably does not lead to a greater effect (RR 0.94 (95% CI 0.81 to 1.09; 2,995 participants)) for BMD and RR 0.93 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.10; 2,995 participants) for osteoporosis medication.Of the 10 studies on low back pain, seven showed that guideline dissemination and educational opportunities for GPs may lead to little or no improvement with regard to guideline-consistent GP behaviour. Two studies showed that the combination of guidelines and GP feedback on the total number of investigations requested may have an effect on GP behaviour and result in a slight reduction in the number of tests, while one of these studies showed that the combination of guidelines and GP reminders attached to radiology reports may result in a small but sustained reduction in the number of investigation requests.Of the four studies on osteoarthritis, one study showed that using educationally influential physicians may result in improvement in guideline-consistent GP behaviour. Another study showed slight improvements in patient outcomes (pain control) after training GPs on pain management.Of three studies on shoulder pain, one study reported that there may be little or no improvement in patient outcomes (functional capacity) after GP education on shoulder pain and injection training.Of two studies on other musculoskeletal conditions, one study on pain management showed that there may be worse patient outcomes (pain control) after GP training on the use of validated assessment scales.The 12 remaining studies across all musculoskeletal conditions showed little or no improvement in GP behaviour and patient outcomes.The direction of the targeted behaviour (i.e. increasing or decreasing a behaviour) does not seem to affect the effectiveness of an intervention. The majority of the studies did not investigate the potential adverse effects of the interventions and only three studies included a cost-effectiveness analysis.Overall, there were important methodological limitations in the body of evidence, with just a third of the studies reporting adequate allocation concealment and blinded outcome assessments. While our confidence in the pooled effect estimate of interventions for improving diagnostic testing and medication prescribing in osteoporosis is high, our confidence in the reported effect estimates in the remaining studies is low. There is good-quality evidence that a GP alerting system with or without patient-directed education on osteoporosis improves guideline-consistent GP behaviour, resulting in better diagnosis and treatment rates.Interventions such as GP reminder messages and GP feedback on performance combined with guideline dissemination may lead to small improvements in guideline-consistent GP behaviour with regard to low back pain, while GP education on osteoarthritis pain and the use of educationally influential physicians may lead to slight improvement in patient outcomes and guideline-consistent behaviour respectively. However, further studies are needed to ascertain the effectiveness of such interventions in improving GP behaviour and patient outcomes.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 20 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 335 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Unknown 333 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 68 20%
Student > Ph. D. Student 40 12%
Researcher 32 10%
Student > Bachelor 32 10%
Student > Postgraduate 28 8%
Other 70 21%
Unknown 65 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 127 38%
Nursing and Health Professions 55 16%
Social Sciences 13 4%
Psychology 12 4%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 6 2%
Other 36 11%
Unknown 86 26%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 26. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 March 2017.
All research outputs
of 12,527,219 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 8,923 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 262,657 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 172 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,527,219 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 8,923 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.2. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 262,657 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 172 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 68% of its contemporaries.