Clinical Outcomes, Utilization, and Charges in Persons With Neck Pain Receiving Guideline Adherent Physical Therapy.

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In efforts to decrease practice variation, clinical practice guidelines for neck pain have been published. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of receiving guideline adherent physical therapy (PT) on clinical outcomes, health care utilization, and charges for health care services in patients with neck pain. A retrospective review of 298 patients with neck pain receiving PT from 2008 to 2011 was performed. Clinical outcomes, utilization, and charges were compared between patients who received guideline adherent care and nonadherent care. Patients in the adherent care group experienced a lower percentage improvement in pain score compared to nonadherent care group (p = .01), but groups did not significantly differ on percentage improvement in disability (p = .32). However, patients receiving adherent care had an average 3.6 fewer PT visits (p < .001) and less charges for PT (p < .001). Additionally, patients receiving adherent care had 7.3 fewer visits to other health care providers (p < .001), one less prescription medication (p = .02) and 43% fewer diagnostic images (p = .02) but did not differ in their charges to other health care providers (p = .68) during the calendar year of undergoing PT. Although receiving guideline adherent care demonstrated positive effects on health care utilization and financial outcomes, there appears to be a trade-off with clinical outcomes.





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Horn, Maggie E, Gerard P Brennan, Steven Z George, Jeffrey S Harman and Mark D Bishop (2016). Clinical Outcomes, Utilization, and Charges in Persons With Neck Pain Receiving Guideline Adherent Physical Therapy. Eval Health Prof, 39(4). pp. 421–434. 10.1177/0163278715583510 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 330 peer-reviewed publications in leading medical, orthopaedic surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and pain research journals.  He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal. 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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