Low Back Pain Research Priorities: A Survey of Primary Care Practitioners

Henschke et al. (2007) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

primary care practitioners

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Australia - Australia

Why was it conducted at all?

Despite the large amount of time and money which has been devoted to low back pain research, successful management remains an elusive goal and low back pain continues to place a large burden on the primary care setting. One reason for this may be that the priorities for research are often developed by researchers and funding bodies, with little consideration of the needs of primary care practitioners

What was the objective?

to determine the research priorities of primary care practitioners who manage low back pain on a day-to-day basis

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 10 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

No information provided.

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: Delphi round 1: participants were asked to list up to five of the most important questions about the management of low back pain in primary care that if addressed by researchers would improve their management of low back pain. Step 2: data processing: results collated, similar responses collapsed, 141 research priorities collapsed to 39 discrete research priority topics. Step 3: Delphi round 2: participants were asked to rate importance of collated research priorities. Step 4: Delphi round 3: list of 10 most important priorities, participants were asked to rank priorities

Which stakeholders took part?

Primary care practitioners. Delphi round 1: 70 participants (8 chiropractors, 16 general practitioners, and 46 physiotherapists), Delphi round 2: 52 participants (6 chiropractors, 14 general practitioners, and 32 physiotherapists). Delphi round 3: 50 participants (5 chiropractors, 14 general practitioners, and 31 physiotherapists).

How were stakeholders recruited?

Low back pain is managed in primary care by three main professions in Australia, namely general practitioners, physiotherapists, and chiropractors. The project team identified practitioners in these three professions from clinics recruiting patients to a cohort study evaluating the prognosis of acute low back pain. All practitioners involved in the prognosis study were invited to participate. All practitioners were experienced in managing patients with acute and chronic low back pain, and demonstrated continuing professional interest in improving the management of low back pain.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.