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Global approach to musculoskeletal models of care

Associate Professor Andrew Briggs, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, has been pivotal to the development of a global approach to the management of the ever-increasing burden of musculoskeletal health conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and back pain.

Associate Professor Briggs has led an international two-year project to establish a framework to develop, implement and evaluate models of care for musculoskeletal health conditions, and other non-communicable diseases. Associate Professor Briggs worked with an interprofessional team of researchers, including colleague, Associate Professor Helen Slater.

Associate Professor Briggs has led the global musculoskeletal models of care project.
Associate Professor Briggs has led the global musculoskeletal models of care project.

Associate Professor Briggs and Associate Professor Slater consistently work with partner organisations in their research program and this project was no different, involving the Department of Health (WA), NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW Health, BehaviourWorks Australia, HealthSense (Australia) Pty. Ltd. and the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health. The framework has been informed by 93 experts from 30 nations, representing high, middle and low-income economies. It’s also publicly supported, through co-badging, by 44 international organisations.

“Our work over the last 10 years highlights that models of care are increasingly accepted as strategy to drive reform in healthcare policy, planning and delivery. A key challenge, however, is achieving sustainable implementation beyond pilot or short-term initiatives. This framework is designed to address that challenge,” said Associate Professor Briggs.

Associate Professor Briggs worked with an interprofessional team of researchers, including colleague, Associate Professor Helen Slater.
Associate Professor Briggs worked with an interprofessional team of researchers, including colleague, Associate Professor Helen Slater.

While the World Health Organisation has developed a guide to assist nations in assessing capacity for responding to the burden of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and lung diseases, the framework assists nations specifically to address musculoskeletal health challenges through models of care. A model of care is a principle-based guide that describes best practice care for particular health conditions or populations, with the focus on person-centred care and a consideration of applicability in local settings.

As governments and other agencies worldwide recognise the immense burden of disease associated with musculoskeletal conditions, the framework will become increasingly important as a system-wide response. The framework is intended to help those tasked with planning, implementing or evaluating health services to achieve an optimal model of care, and its sustainable implementation.

“The scope of cross-sector and international engagement in this project is a reflection of Associate Professor Briggs’ reputation for strong leadership in delivering high quality, pragmatic research that bridges policy and practice,” said Associate Professor Slater.

The framework can be accessed freely here.