Volume 5 Supplement 1

7th International Conference on Conservative Management of Spinal Deformities

Open Access

The impact of scoliosis detection circumstances on the referral patterns in orthopaedics

  • Marie Beauséjour1,
  • Marjolaine Roy-Beaudry1,
  • Lise Goulet1,
  • Charles-Hilaire Rivard1,
  • Benoit Poitras1,
  • Stefan Parent1 and
  • Hubert Labelle1
Scoliosis20105(Suppl 1):O41

https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-7161-5-S1-O41

Published: 10 September 2010

Introduction

The literature on efficiency of school scoliosis screening programs (SSSP) discusses the potential benefit of the awareness of health professionals and parents for early detection of scoliosis, as an alternative to mass screening of school children, for proper management of scoliosis patients. This hypothesis was examined in a community without SSSP by analyzing the impact of the professional status of the person involved in scoliosis detection on the appropriateness of referral.

Materials and methods

345 consecutive patients referred to an orthopaedist for suspected scoliosis at a major hospital in Canada were interviewed to characterize the originator of the detection of their scoliosis: Lay person (family/patient), Allied health (physical therapist, chiropractor, osteopath, sport instructor), General practitioner, and Specialist. Patients were then classified according to the timing of their referral.

Results and discussion

136/345 patients (39%) were considered as referred inappropriately since they presented a Cobb angle lower than 11o, 61 (18%) met the indications of immediate bracing or surgery and were considered as late referrals. The appropriateness of referral was associated to the professional status of the originator of the scoliosis detection: Chi2=17.7, p=0.007 (Table 1). The presence of scoliosis was first suspected by lay persons in 53% (181) of cases. Referral profiles were similar for Lay persons and Allied health including late referrals in one fifth of patients. Late referrals were much less likely to occur in cases detected by physicians, with Specialists presenting the highest rate of appropriate referrals. However, over-referral was more frequent in physicians, especially for General practitioners.
Table 1

Association between the professional status and appropriateness of referral.

 

Inappropriate referral

Late referral

Appropriate referral

Total

Lay person

63 (34.8%)

44 (24.3%)

74 (40.9%)

181 (100%)

Allied health

15 (35.7%)

9 (21.4%)

18 (42.9%)

42 (100%)

General practitioner

24 (52.2%)

3 (6.5%)

19 (41.3%)

46 (100%)

Specialist

34 (44.7%)

5 (6.6%)

37 (48.7%)

76 (100%)

Total

136 (39.4%)

61 (17.7%)

148 (42.9%)

345

Conclusion

The professional status of persons involved in scoliosis detection has an impact on the appropriateness of referral. In consequence, increased awareness of scoliosis detection methods by persons involved in child health may favour appropriateness of referral. Guidelines dissemination may be useful to decrease over-referral and improve referral timing in absence of school scoliosis screening programs.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Sainte-Justine Hospital

Copyright

© Beauséjour et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.

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