Keele research celebrated for significant positive impact in national report
A tool designed by Keele researchers to improve care for patients with low back pain has been praised in a national report for its tremendous positive impact and return on investment, generating more than £226 for every £1 spent to implement it.
The stratified care approach to low back pain (STarTBack), developed by a team of researchers at Keele University, was highlighted in a recent report by the RAND corporation looking at impactful research from UK universities, including some that have generated significant returns from the amount of money they cost to develop and implement.
As highlighted in the report, the tool has been estimated by Public Health England to have generated over £226 for every £1 spent on implementing it, highlighting the significant positive impact of the research for patients, clinicians, and healthcare providers.
The STarTBack Screening Tool was designed to help a range of clinicians identify patients most at risk of low back pain-related disabilities, to improve both care and treatment outcomes for patients.
The tool uses several factors to categorise patients as low, medium, or high risk of developing persistent back pain-related disability, meaning clinicians can assign patients to an appropriate treatment pathway.
The objective of this approach is to improve patients’ disability outcomes, reduce sickness absence and generate healthcare and societal costs savings.
Professor Jonathan Hill, lead author of the STarTBack trial publication in The Lancet, said: "The recognition of the STarTBack tool in the RAND report highlights the transformative potential of targeted, stratified care in managing low back pain in primary care, and its staggering return on investment.
“This tool not only streamlines the treatment pathway for patients at varying levels of risk but also exemplifies how evidence-based research can lead to substantial healthcare savings and improved patient outcomes. It's a testament to the dedication of our Keele musculoskeletal research team and the collaborative spirit of healthcare innovation."
The report looked at research submitted as part of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 exercise, in which 80% of Keele’s research was judged to be either world-leading or internationally excellent.
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