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Papers of the Week

2022 Nov 23

Healthcare (Basel)



Long-Term Clinical Outcomes of a Remote Digital Musculoskeletal Program: An Ad Hoc Analysis from a Longitudinal Study with a Non-Participant Comparison Group.


Areias AC, Costa F, Janela D, Molinos M, Moulder RG, Lains J, Scheer JK, Bento V, Yanamadala V, Correia F D
Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Nov 23; 10(12).
PMID: 36553873.


Digital solutions have emerged as an alternative to conventional physiotherapy, particularly for chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) management; however, its long-term effects remain largely unexplored. This study focuses on patients reporting CMP, assessing 1-year clinical outcomes after a multimodal digital care program (DCP) versus non-participants, who enrolled in the program but never engaged in a single exercise session or partook of the educational content made available to them. In this longitudinal study ad-hoc analysis, pain and functionality outcomes at 1-year reassessment were studied, focusing on the odds of reaching minimal clinically important difference (MCID) and, overall average reduction in both outcomes. Healthcare utilization was additionally studied within the same period. From 867 individuals allocated to the study, 460 completed the 1-year reassessment (intervention group: 310; comparison group: 150). The intervention group presented sustained and greater pain reduction until 1-year reassessment than the comparison group, reflecting greater odds ratio of achieving the MCID both in pain and functionality (1.90 95% CI: 1.27-2.86, = 0.002 and 2.02 95% CI: 1.31-3.12, = 0.001, respectively). A lower healthcare utilization during the 1-year follow-up was observed in the intervention group than in the comparison group. This study suggests that a digital CMP program may have a lasting impact on improved pain and functionality in patients with CMP.