Administration of the Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment: Impact on Office Routine and Physician–Patient Interaction

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Outcome instrument use is becoming widespread. They must fit smoothly into the office flow and show the physician and patient value. Five practices incorporated the Short Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment (SMFA) into their office. Existing staff scored the SMFA. At the conclusion of the visit, the patient and physician assessed the impact of the SMFA on their interaction. Five hundred ten patients completed the SMFA. Physicians believed the verbal interaction had some effect with their patients 44% of the time. Physicians reported the SMFA had some effect on their management decisions 36% of the time. Physicians reported that the total score was helpful 43% of the time and the category scores were helpful 65% of the time. On completing the SMFA, patients reported no effect on their physician interaction 74% of the time and 88% believed it was worthwhile to complete. This validated musculoskeletal questionnaire adds value to the physician–patient interaction in approximately 30%-40% of encounters.

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