Arthritis Research UK hosted the ‘MSK-HQ Conference’ in London on 28 May 2015. The event was in two parts – in the morning, Arthritis Research UK hosted the second meeting of the National Musculoskeletal Health Data Group. This group, chaired by Dr Benjamin Ellis, our senior clinical policy advisor, meets every six months to discuss the community’s projects aiming to improve the extent and quality musculoskeletal data nationally, regionally, and locally.

  • David Lawrence from PHAST, a public health consultancy, updated the group on the progress they have made in developing a set of nationally recognised indicators which the Data Group commissioned earlier this year. Their focus is to try and develop indicators that would both have the potential to improve health care for MSK, and be feasible to implement across the NHS. They are currently reviewing the available evidence and will be producing a long-list of indicators in the coming weeks.
  • Prof Anthony Woolf, of EUMUSC.Net, gave a talk about the work he and his team are doing to explore funding questions related to musculoskeletal conditions in the Health Survey for England. This is an exciting opportunity to obtain high-quality musculoskeletal survey data from a nationally representative sample, on a yearly basis.
  • In addition to presentations from BSR and BOA, the group also heard from John Battersby (MSK Lead at Public Health England), Peter Kay (Clinical Director for MSK at NHS England), Senga Cree (MSK Lead at NHS Scotland), Liz Lingard (North East Quality Observatory), and Kelvin Jordan (Keele).

The afternoon session was a wider meeting updating on the development and piloting of the Arthritis Research UK Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire (MSK-HQ). Dr Jonathan Hill of Keele University discussed the initial development phase of the tool. Concluding in June 2014, this produced a candidate Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM) designed to be used across different musculoskeletal care pathways in different healthcare settings. Prof Andrew Price then discussed the on-going work in phase 2 to test the draft tool in 4 health care settings: rheumatology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy and healthcare commissioning.

NHS England has funded the phase 2 jointly with Arthritis Research UK. Jo Partington, Insight Account Manager for Patient Reported Outcome Measures at NHS England, outlined the importance of PROMs data for capturing how patients benefit from their treatments, and how this understanding contributed to PROMs being included in the NHS Framework and the NHS Standard Contract.

For further information about these projects or our other data activities, please contact Benjamin Ellis, or Einan Snir.

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