Multi-discipinary Care – How Does it Work in Clinical Practice?

I am going to begin this article by explaining that multi-disciplinary care is most often inaccurately used in common parlance. The term implies that several health care practitioners are managing an individual patient at the same time. While this type of care can be found at teaching hospitals – where I have worked  for many years – it is extremely rare to find in the Independent Health Care System. In this system – when it is at its best – what you will find is more accurately described as inter-disciplinary care. As the term implies, individual patients may be treated by different practitioners – as required and in a cohesive manner – but care will be administered by one practitioner at a time.

In a recent article I reviewed why it can be so very difficult to accurately diagnose different lower back pain conditions even while carrying  out thorough and high quality assessment procedures including MRI scans. That is why we have the wide array of health disciplines at our clinic. Each discipline has something unique to offer and when working in a cohesive manner better results and patient satisfaction are obtained.

As regards the diagnosis and management of lower back pain we have chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, general practitioners, consultant rheumatologists, consultant surgeons, medical acupuncture and stress management. Pretty impressive for a non-hospital based Independent Clinic – but necessary.

A Typical Treatment Course

Patients are of course given the choice of whom they wish to see and this has been demonstrated to give better results. If however, patients have no preference they will usually be referred to Dr Alan Jordan, Chiropractor, Phd a founder of the clinic who has many years of experience in the diagnosis and management of lower back pain and has published extensively in international peer reviewed journals. Perhaps most importantly, he has worked at leading Spine Centres in Europe and has a wealth of experience in coordinating appropriate care.

The initial task is to arrive at a proper “working” diagnosis and to determine the most appropriate course of care. It may or may not be chiropractic care. In a sense his job is like that of a GP of back pain. Make the appropriate diagnosis and initiate the best treatment. An additional advantage of initiating treatment with chiropractic care is that it has been scientifically proven that it works quickly – very quickly. Although not all patients respond favourably to chiropractic care it only takes a few (2-3) treatments in order to determine if this is the correct treatment pathway to chose. Many patients will also be seen by our General Practitioner if prescription medication is required.

Patients undergoing chiropractic care will most often be referred to physiotherapy as their condition settles. Our expert physiotherapists have a state of the art gym in which they carry out active exercise based treatment. This combination is the most common pathway that we use at the Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic for patients who have not specifically requested an appointment with one of our other practitioners.

If however, Dr Jordan feels that additional investigations are necessary, we have the opportunity to refer to other disciplines of progress is lacking or indeed if additional investigations are required. This would most often by our Consultant Rheumatologist if there is a suspicion of inflammatory disease such as an active arthritis or to our Consultant Spinal Surgeon is there is a suspicion of for example, a frank disc herniation. This will usually involve additional investigations such as blood work, MRI scans etc.

Conclusions

The team at the Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic are uniquely equipped to diagnose and manage lower back pain patients. We have the largest array of health disciplines of any Independent Clinic in London. All of our experienced clinicians work in a cohesive manner and our sole aim is to get patients better – as quickly as possible – and to ensure that preventative measures are undertaken in order to limit the risk of recurring symptoms.

Dr Alan Jordan

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