Welcome to the Keele STarT Back Screening Tool website

The use of this tool is free and open to all - no license is required. However, when using the tool please ensure the copyright and funding statement is maintained at all times.

The Keele STarT Back Screening Tool (SBST) is a brief validated tool (Hill et al 2008), designed to screen primary care patients with low back pain for prognostic indicators that are relevant to initial decision making.

The STarT Back trial which was recently published in The Lancet was designed to compare the clinical and cost effectiveness of stratified management approach; allocating patients to different treatment pathways based on their prognosis (low, medium, or high risk of poor outcome); with that of current best practice. The trial was was funded by Arthritis Research UK and demonstrates that this new model results in greater health benefits, achieved at a lower average health-care cost, with an average saving to health services of £34.39 per patient and societal savings of £675 per patient.

The tool helps primary care clinicians (GPs, physiotherapists etc) to group patients into 3 categories of risk of poor outcome (persistent disabling symptoms) - low, medium, and high-risk.    By being able to categorise patients into these 3 groups, clinicians are then able to target interventions to each sub-group of patients to help improve outcome.  A randomised control trial of this hypothesis has just been completed, the results of which are due for publication.

The instrument is being used by a range of clinicians such as general practitioners, physical therapists, osteopaths and pain management practitioners to systematically identify patients ‘at risk' of persistent symptoms. Why not add your name to the list of clinical Centres using the tool?


Figure to illustrate the Keele STarT Back Screening and Targeted treatment concept


Figure to illustrate the Keele STarT Back Screening and Targeted treatment concept.

The Keele STarT Back Tool development was funded by Arthritis Research UK. This web site is administered by the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre.

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Paperwork90x90   STarT Back trial published in The Lancet Posted on 30 September 2011 The STarT Back study team are delighted that the results of the trial have just been published in The Lancet. The study is already attracting interest from across the UK and internationally.