HealthPathways Melbourne, which is led by
North Western Melbourne and Eastern Melbourne PHNs, has ended 2016 on a high
thanks to an award linked to their work on the lower back pain pathway.
The team have been celebrating after The Royal
Melbourne Hospital (RMH) and Merri Health’s Back Pain Assessment and Management
Service (BAMS) won an award at the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards on 12
BAMS is a collaborative initiative between
rheumatology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, physiotherapy, and chronic pain
services at RMH partnering with its community health partners to provide an
alternative care pathway for patients referred for specialist consultation for
neck and lower back pain.
This service redesign has been sustained
following an initial pilot, which also involved cohealth and was supported by
North Western Melbourne PHN through its development of the pathway. The
new model of care has also now been replicated at three acute and community
partnership sites across Melbourne.
Before the BAMS program’s inception,
spinal surgical waiting lists were long and a significant proportion of
patients on those lists did not have conditions amenable to surgery.
waited prolonged periods to see a specialist only to be told that their problem
could not be solved by that service.
BAMS is able to triage every back and neck pain
referral and recognise those patients likely to have a surgical condition and
those needing medical care.
Patients needing medical care are seen within six to 12 weeks at one of two BAMS clinics in a community setting in
which they receive comprehensive assessment and management by a
rheumatologist and physiotherapist that is better suited to their needs.
At the surgical end, there has been an
impressive reduction in waiting times for surgical patients to see spinal
As the BAMS program work started, so too
did work on the Lower Back Pain pathway for HealthPathways Melbourne.
BAMS specialists provided meaningful input into the pathway’s content and the
clinical working group discussion assisted the BAMS clinicians in understanding
the primary care context as they planned their community clinic.
it fortuitous timing that HealthPathways undertook the Lower Back Pain pathway
at the same time as the Back Pain Clinic began," Rheumatologist and
BAMS Director Dr John Moi said.
is synergy between the two projects. We have noticed that patients are now
being screened properly for lower back pain and we are seeing an increase in
the quality of referrals we are receiving in clinic.”