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  • 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019
  • Project No: 389
  • Funding round: FR 14

Osteoarthritis pain is common, costly, and challenging to manage in busy primary care settings.  While various drug-based and non-drug-based treatments are recommended, patients still experience pain, poor quality-of-life, and drug side effects. Regardless of which treatment patients receive, excellent practitioner-patient communication can significantly reduce patients’ pain while improving quality of life and satisfaction with care. We recently showed that patients experience less pain after consulting practitioners who show empathy and encourage optimism about treatment. Yet practitioners vary widely in how much they show empathy. We plan to develop an online training package to teach practitioners (GPs, physiotherapists, and nurses) how to show more empathy and encourage patients to have positive yet realistic expectations.

Our research questions are: 

    1. What strategies should we teach practitioners to use so that they will show more empathy and encourage patients to have realistic and positive expectations?

    2. What are patients’ and practitioners’ concerns and priorities, to address in our training?

    3. How can we make our training engaging and relevant for practitioners so that they use it?

To answer these questions, we will:

    1. Review existing trials to confirm what strategies enhance practitioner engagement.

    2. Review existing qualitative studies to identify patients’ and practitioners’ priorities and concerns.

    3. Interview practitioners so we can make our training engaging and persuasive.

To design our training, we will make a plan and use published evidence about how to help people change their behaviour. To produce our training package, we will test prototypes with patients and practitioners and make improvements. Finally, we will conduct a small ‘feasibility’ trial to help us design a large, fundable, clinical trial. If successful, our training package should enable practitioners to improve the long-term effectiveness of all drug and non-drug therapies for osteoarthritis pain, reduce patients’ pain and improve quality of life.  

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.