Influence of Initial Provider on Health Care Utilization in Patients Seeking Care for Neck Pain.

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To examine patients seeking care for neck pain to determine associations between the type of provider initially consulted and 1-year health care utilization.A retrospective cohort of 1702 patients (69.25% women, average age, 45.32±14.75 years) with a new episode of neck pain who consulted a primary care provider, physical therapist (PT), chiropractor (DC), or specialist from January 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, was analyzed. Descriptive statistics were calculated for each group, and subsequent 1-year health care utilization of imaging, opioids, surgery, and injections was compared between groups.Compared with initial primary care provider consultation, patients consulting with a DC or PT had decreased odds of being prescribed opioids within 1 year from the index visit (DC: adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.54; 95% CI, 0.39-0.76; PT: aOR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.44-0.78). Patients consulting with a DC additionally demonstrated decreased odds of advanced imaging (aOR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.15-0.76) and injections (aOR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.19-0.56). Initiating care with a specialist or PT increased the odds of advanced imaging (specialist: aOR, 2.96; 95% CI, 2.01-4.38; PT: aOR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.01-2.46), but only initiating care with a specialist increased the odds of injections (aOR, 3.21; 95% CI, 2.31-4.47).Initially consulting with a nonpharmacological provider may decrease opioid exposure (PT and DC) over the next year and also decrease advanced imaging and injections (DC only). These data provide an initial indication of how following recent practice guidelines may influence health care utilization in patients with a new episode of neck pain.





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Horn, Maggie E, Steven Z George and Julie M Fritz (2017). Influence of Initial Provider on Health Care Utilization in Patients Seeking Care for Neck Pain. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, 1(3). pp. 226–233. 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2017.09.001 Retrieved from

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Maggie Elizabeth Horn

Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery

Steven Zachary George

Laszlo Ormandy Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. George’s primary interest is research involving biopsychosocial models for the prevention and treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders.  His long term goals are to 1) improve accuracy for predicting who is going to develop chronic pain; and 2) identify non-pharmacological treatment options that limit the development of chronic pain conditions.  Dr. George is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, United States Association of the Study of Pain, and International Association for the Study of Pain. 

Dr. George’s research projects have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and Orthopaedic Academy of the American Physical Therapy Association.  Dr. George and his collaborators have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications in leading medical, orthopaedic surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and pain research journals.  He currently serves as Deputy Editor for Physical Therapy and is an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Pain. Dr. George has also been involved with clinical practice guideline development for the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and the American Psychological Association. 

Dr. George has been recognized with prestigious research awards from the American Physical Therapy Association, American Pain Society, and International Association for the Study of Pain. For example from the American Physical Therapy Association: he was named the  21st John H.P. Maley Lecturer, recognized as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 2017, and selected for the Marian Williams Award for Research in Physical Therapy in 2022.    

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