Does the implementation of a care pathway for patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis lead to fewer diagnostic imaging and referrals by general practitioners? A pre-post-implementation study of claims data

Esther H. A. van den Bogaart*, Marielle E. A. L. Kroese, Marieke D. Spreeuwenberg, Ramon P. G. Ottenheijm, Patrick Deckers, Dirk Ruwaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


BackgroundThe Dutch care for hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) is of good quality, but there is room for improvement regarding the efficient use of diagnostic imaging and conservative treatment. Therefore a stepped-care approach, in the shape of the care pathway 'Better exercise in osteoarthritis', was implemented to reduce the number of diagnostic imaging requested by GPs and referrals of GPs to orthopaedic care.MethodsIn 2015, the pathway is implemented with the use of educational meetings, distributing guidelines and incorporating reminders in the GPs' referral application. To evaluate the effect of the pathway on the diagnostic and referral behaviour of GPs, hip and knee related health insurance claims are used together with claims of other joints and of a control region for comparison. The average number of claims and the percentage change in the post-implementation period are described. Binary logistic regression analysis is used to examine the interaction between region (intervention and control) and period (pre- and post-implementation). Using random sampling of patient records, information about the practical application of the pathway and the number of hip or knee arthroplasties is added.ResultsIn both regions, the number of diagnostic imaging decreased and the number of initial orthopaedic consultations increased during the post-implementation period. Significant interaction effects were found in knee-related diagnostics (p

Original languageEnglish
Article number154
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2019


  • Care pathway
  • Stepped care
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diagnostic requests
  • Referrals
  • GP
  • Claims data
  • PAIN

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