Shoulder, soft tissue knee and spine: Clinical pathways to improve MSK care in Alberta

Picture of Breda Eubank

Breda Eubank

Breda Eubank is an Assistant Professor at Mount Royal University and a research consultant with the Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network. Over the years, Breda has served as President and Vice-President of the Alberta Athletic Therapists Association, member of the Regional President’s Committee of the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association, and Secretary of the Sport Medicine Council of Alberta. Breda is a member of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Sport Medicine Team. Her research interests include health system quality improvement, clinical pathway development, musculoskeletal care, and public policy.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) patients seeking care in Alberta may encounter a multitude of different service providers – primary care physicians, orthopedic specialists, sports medicine physicians, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, chiropractors, pain management specialists, physiatrists, massage therapists and more. While seeking care, there are unnecessary queues and long wait lists to see providers with expertise in MSK conditions that result in patients not receiving a timely assessment. There is also a wide variety in the MSK expertise and assessment process, resulting in patients not necessarily receiving a consistent and comprehensive assessment. We know that the current standard of care needs improved wayfinding, improved equitable access to care, and reductions in care variations and outcomes.

Currently, many healthcare providers across Alberta, including athletic therapists, have been engaged with the MSK Transformation project, a strategic priority of the Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network. The goal of this initiative is to improve the quality of care for patients and to transform the model of MSK care in Alberta. 

One avenue has been to create province-wide, standardized clinical pathways for shouldersoft tissue knee, and spine (low back) MSK conditions to help with clinical decision-making. The goal of the pathways is to get patients to the right provider at the right place in the right time with the right outcome. The pathways were developed in collaboration with Alberta clinicians across the continuum of care, using a co-design and evidence-based approach. The pathways can help guide clinicians with assessment, patient management, and appropriate procedures for investigations and referrals. All three pathways can now be accessed via the Bone & Joint Health SCN website.

For more information, feel free to contact Breda Eubank: beubank@mtroyal.ca

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