Impacts of Adherence to Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines for the Management of Acute Low Back Pain on Costs of Worker's Compensation Claims

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Objective:American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine's (ACOEM's) evidence-based guidelines for acute low back pain (LBP) were used to assess relationships between guideline adherence and worker's compensation costs.Methods:Treatments at first appointments were abstracted. Two scoring tools were utilized to assess each patient's treatment plan. One score assessed ACOEM Guideline compliance while the second utilized mean expert scores of the perceived value of each treatment. Claim costs were log-transformed and compared with scores.Results:There is a significant trend between increased compliance and decreasing costs. Medical and total costs trended lower by an average $352.90 and $586.20 per unit of compliance score respectively. No outlier cost claims were in the best guidelines compliance groups.Conclusion:This study shows a statistically significant trend in the relationship between adherence to ACOEM guidelines for initial management of work-related LBP and decreasing claim costs.

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