Evaluation of a physician education intervention to improve primary care for low-back pain i: Impact on physicians

Dan Cherkin, Richard A. Deyo, Alfred O. Berg, James J. Bergman, Denise M. Lishner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In an effort to improve the cost-effectiveness of primary care for low-back pain, we developed, implemented, and evaluated a physician education intervention. The program was designed to provide family physicians with specific information, tools, and techniques that our previous studies and the literature suggested should be associated with more satisfying and cost-effective care for low-back pain. The in-clinic educational intervention included feedback of the findings of our previous studies of care for back pain (comparing family physicians and chiropractors), an up-to-date summary of scientific knowledge relevant to the management of back pain in primary care, a videotape contrasting ineffective and effective patient encounters, and a clinical assessment form for low-back pain. The back pain-related beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of 15 primary care providers in a large health maintenance organization clinic and of 14 family physicians in six group practices were assessed before and after the intervention. Significant increases were noted in the proportions of providers who felt confident they knew how to manage low-back pain, who believed their patients were satisfied, and who claimed they reassured patients that they did not have serious disease. The intervention, however, had little impact on the prevalence of negative feelings about patients with back pain or frustration with patients who wanted their doctor to “fix” their problem. The intervention had a similar impact on health maintenance organization and fee-for-service physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1172
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuing medical education
  • Low-back pain
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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