Evaluating Quality Management of Acute Low Back Problems Provided By Air Force Nurse Practitioners
Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States
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Providing appropriate quality health care is essential to the management of patients with acute low back problems ALBP. In 1994, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research AHCPR published clinical guidelines to assist health care providers when managing acute low back problems in adults. The concept and acceptance of clinical practice guidelines evolved from the necessity to minimize aberrant, ineffective clinical approaches, conserve financial costs, and preserve the quality of health care. There is currently no data available on the adherence of published guidelines in the military or by nurse practitioners. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical practice techniques implemented by Air Force Nurse Practitioners AFNPs in the management of ALBP based on AHCPR Clinical Practice Guidelines No. 14. A survey was distributed to 143 family, adult, and womens health nurse practitioners in the United States Air Force. Sixty-four percent of the 57 returned surveys were valid. The survey contained questions focusing on the three key elements specific to the AHCPR guidelines initial assessment techniques, clinical care methods implemented, and special studies and diagnostic considerations. The overall score of compliance to the AHCPR guidelines was 52.3 . The knowledge gaps revealed in this study on the management of ALBP in adults by AFNPs is substantial. It is suggested that the AFNP become familiar and implement the guidelines established by the AHCPR to improve their management of patients with ALBP. Adhering to the recommendations based on evidence and expert consensus will ensure quality health care delivery.