The (cost-)effectiveness and cost-utility of a novel integrative care initiative for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain: the pragmatic trial protocol of Network Pain Rehabilitation Limburg

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BACKGROUND: Rehabilitation care for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) is not optimally organized. The Network Pain Rehabilitation Limburg 2.0 (NPRL2.0) provides integrated care with a biopsychosocial approach and strives to improve the Quadruple Aim outcomes: pain-related disability of patients with CMP; experiences of care of patients with CMP; meaning in the work of healthcare professionals; and healthcare costs. Firstly, in this study, the effectiveness (with regard to the functioning and participation of patients) of primary care for patients with CMP will be assessed, comparing care organized following the NPRL2.0 procedure with usual care. Secondly, the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility with regard to health-related quality of life and healthcare costs will be assessed. And thirdly, the effect of duration of participation in a local network in primary care will be studied.

METHODS: In this pragmatic study, it is expected that two local networks with 105 patients will participate in the prospective cohort study and six local networks with 184 patients in the stepped-wedge based design. Healthcare professionals in the local networks will recruit patients.

INCLUSION CRITERIA: age ≥ 18 years; having CMP; willing to improve functioning despite pain; and adequate Dutch literacy.

EXCLUSION CRITERIA: pregnancy; and having a treatable medical or psychiatric disease. Patients will complete questionnaires at baseline (T1), 3 months (T2), 6 months (T3), and 9 months (T4). Questionnaires at T1 and T4 will include the Pain Disability Index and Short Form Health Survey. Questionnaires at T1, T2, T3, and T4 will include the EQ-5D-5L, and iMTA Medical Consumption and Productivity Cost Questionnaires. Outcomes will be compared using linear mixed-model analysis and costs will be compared using bootstrapping methods.

DISCUSSION: NPRL2.0 is a multidimensional, complex intervention, executed in daily practice, and therefore needing a pragmatic study design. The current study will assess NPRL2.0 with respect to the Quadruple Aim outcomes: patient health and costs. This will provide more information on the (cost-) effectiveness of the organization of care in a network structure regarding patients with CMP. The other two Quadruple Aim outcomes will be examined alongside this study. Trial registration Netherlands Trial Register: NL7643. .

Original languageEnglish
Article number320
Number of pages12
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Effectiveness
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Cost-utility
  • Pragmatic trial
  • Rehabilitation
  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • Organization of care
  • Primary care
  • Network

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