A systematic review and evidence synthesis of qualitative studies to identify primary care clinicians' barriers and enablers to the management of osteoarthritis

Thorlene Egerton, L. E. Diamond, R. Buchbinder, K. L. Bennell, Susan C Slade

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Primary care management of osteoarthritis (OA) is variable and often inconsistent with clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). This study aimed to identify and synthesize available qualitative evidence on primary care clinicians' views on providing recommended management of OA. Design Eligibility criteria included full reports published in peer-reviewed journals, with data collected directly from primary care clinicians using qualitative methods for collection and analysis. Five electronic databases (MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsychInfo) were searched to August 2016. Two independent reviewers identified eligible reports, conducted critical appraisal (based on Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) criteria), and extracted data. Three reviewers independently, then collaboratively, synthesized and interpreted data through an inductive and iterative process to derive new themes. The Confidence in Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research (CERQual) approach was used to determine a confidence profile for each finding. Results Eight studies involving approximately 83 general practitioners (GPs), 24 practice nurses, 12 pharmacists and 10 physical therapists, from Australia, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Mexico were included. Four barriers were identified as themes 1) OA is not that serious, 2) Clinicians are, or perceive they are, under-prepared, 3) Personal beliefs at odds with providing recommended practice, and 4) Dissonant patient expectations. No themes were enablers. Confidence ratings were moderate or low. Conclusions Synthesising available data revealed barriers that collectively point towards a need to address clinician knowledge gaps, and enhance clinician communication and behaviour change skills to facilitate patient adherence, enable effective conversations and manage dissonant patient expectations. Registration PROSPERO (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO) [4/11/2015, CRD42015027543].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-638
Number of pages14
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Primary care
  • Qualitative
  • Systematic review

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