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Table 3 Study characteristics: Musculoskeletal

From: Reducing wait time from referral to first visit for community outpatient services may contribute to better health outcomes: a systematic review

Author Study quality Setting Participant/client group N Study design Waiting times compared Outcome Measures Key Findings
Amato et al. (1997) [45] Samplec Measurec Analysisa Orthopaedic rehab, USA Musculo-skeletal disorders N = 24,196 Retrospective cohort study Short wait:
0–7 days
Long wait:
≥ 121 days
1. QOL
2. Patient Satisfaction
Authors conclude an association between shorter wait time and improved QOL but no difference in patient satisfaction.
Harding et al. (2013) [56] Credibilityb Transferabilityc Dependabilityc Confirmabilityb Outpatient musculo-skeletal rehab, Australia Musculo-skeletal disorders N = 22 Qualitative component of a mixed methods study (semi-structured interviews) Short wait:
10 days
Long wait:
29 days
1. Patient experience Patients who wait longer for first appointment report anxiety regarding physical deterioration.
Linton et al. (1993) [49] Samplec Measureb Analysisc Primary health care unit (GP with referral to Physical Therapist +/− case manager), Sweden Musculo-skeletal pain N = 198 Controlled trial (non-randomised) Short wait:
3 days
Long wait: 9 days
1 Patient satisfaction
2. Pain
3. Workplace participation
Shorter wait time associated with improvement in workplace participation and patient satisfaction with short wait to first appointment.
Wait time not associated with pain.
Nordemanet al (2006) [51] Samplec Measurec Analysisc Primary health care Sweden Low back pain. N = 60 Randomised clinical trial Short wait: within 2 days Long wait: 4 week delay 1. Pain
2. Function
3. Workplace participation
Wait time not associated with pain, function or workplace participation.
Pedersen et al. (2017) [55] Sampleb Measureb Analysisb Municipal rehab, Denmark Elderly patients post hip fracture. N = 116 Prospective cohort study Median wait: 8 days
Range:
0–64 days
1. Function Wait time not associated with function.
Self et al. (2000) [52] Sampleb Measurec Analysisb Ortho-paedic physical therapy, USA Low back pain N = 161 Retrospective cohort study Short wait:
0–7 days
Long wait:
15–42 days
1. Function Wait time not associated with function.
Wand, et al. (2004) [53] Samplec Measureb Analysisc Physio-therapy outpatient service, UK. Acute low back pain. N = 102 Single blind randomised controlled trial Short wait:
0–1 days
Long wait:
42 days
1. Function
2. Pain
3. Anxiety symptoms
4. Depression symptoms
5. QOL
Shorter wait time associated with improved QOL and less anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Wait time not associated with function or pain.
Zigenfus et al. (2000) [54] Samplec Measureb Analysisc Occupational health care/Physical therapy, USA Workers with acute low back injuries. N = 3867 Retrospective cohort study Short wait:
0–1 days
Intermediate Wait: 2–7 days
Long wait:
8–197 days
1. Workplace participation Shorter wait time associated with improved workplace participation.
  1. QOL Quality of life
  2. acriteria not met
  3. bcriteria partially met
  4. ccriteria met in full