Saturday, January 8, 2011

Doctors Not Following Arthritis Guidelines

A number of professional bodies have released osteoarthritis guidelines summarizing the different treatments and the evidence behind them. They are meant to guide physicians, informing them of the treatments that have been shown to work effectively.

One example of such a set of guidelines is the review produced by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons on knee osteoarthritis (to view, click here).

A new paper to be published in Arthritis Care and Research in January 2011 states that doctors are relying on analgesia and surgery while ignoring evidence based treatments such as weight loss and exercise. The study also reported that there is excessive use of radiological investigations, in particular MRI. They estimate that 50% of the MRI scans done for osteoarthritis each year in the USA are unnecessary.

As the population ages, the cost of treatment is going to rapidly rise and it is likely pressure will be applied to encourage evidence backed treatments. Existing treatments such as arthroscopic 'washout' that have been shown to be of little benefit will be placed under the microscope as health care costs soar.

For more on the article, click here.