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Patient-centred care: the cornerstone for high-value musculoskeletal pain management
  1. Ivan Lin1,
  2. Louise Wiles2,
  3. Rob Waller3,
  4. JP Caneiro3,4,
  5. Yusuf Nagree5,6,
  6. Leon Straker7,
  7. Chris G Maher8,
  8. Peter P B O'Sullivan3,4
  1. 1 WA Centre for Rural Health, University of Western Australia, Geraldton, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 Centre for Population Health Research, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. 3 School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  4. 4 Body Logic Physiotherapy, Shenton Park, Western Australia, Australia
  5. 5 Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  6. 6 Emergency Department, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  7. 7 School of Physiotherapy and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia
  8. 8 School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan Lin, WA Centre for Rural Health, University of Western Australia, Geraldton, WA 6531, Australia; ivan.lin{at}

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We identified 11 common recommendations to deliver best care for musculoskeletal (MSK) pain.1 Recommendation 1, that MSK pain care is patient centred, is the cornerstone for best care. Yet patient-centred care is often undervalued, under-recognised, undertrained and considered less important than technical skills/knowledge. Greater attention to patient-centredness improves patient and practitioner outcomes and reduces costs.2 3 A paradigm shift is needed in which patient-centred skills are learnt with the same rigour as technical skills (eg, patient physical examination procedures). However, clinicians and high-performance professionals are often unsure of how the patient centredness of their practice can be improved. The simplest step is for clinicians to improve the effectiveness of their communication.

Patient-centred care is based on effective communication

Patient-centred care incorporates each individual’s context, knowledge, needs, values, goals and preferences into shared decision-making about management.4 Achieving this relies on effective communication,4 which elicits the patient’s concerns, within their unique context, leading to a partnership in management. This process is individualised, interactive, dynamic and evolves over the patient’s journey.

Communication is also not just about the patient interview. It includes how clinicians approach the physical examination, how they engage and empower the patient in shared decision-making and arrive …

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  • Twitter @wileslouise79, @RobWallerPT, @jpcaneiro, @Leon_Straker, @CGMMaher, @PeteOSullivanPT

  • Deceased Prof Yusuf Nagree is deceased.

  • Contributors IL and PPBO conceived the article. IL was responsible for initial writing and drafting of the article, which was reviewed by all authors. All authors revised critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version.

  • Funding CGM’s fellowship (APP1103022) is funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, and his research is supported by a Programme Grant (APP1113532) and CRE Grant (APP1134856). LW works on a project funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council Program Grant (APP1054146).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.