Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain conditions, a leading cause of disability in Switzerland and worldwide, are usually first managed in primary care settings such as medical, chiropractic, and physiotherapy community-based practices. The development and use of practice-based research networks (PBRNs) can play a key role in addressing clinically relevant research questions, translating research findings into evidence-based practice, and improving the quality of healthcare. A nationwide Swiss chiro-practic PBRN and MSK pain patient cohort study may have potential to assess epidemiologic trends of MSK pain conditions and contribute to healthcare quality improvement.
The primary aims of this proof-of-concept project are to: (1) describe the development of an MSK-focused PBRN within the Swiss chiropractic context, and (2) design and implement the first nested study to be conducted within the PBRN—an observational prospective patient cohort pilot study. This initiative is conceptualised as two distinct phases: Phase I focuses on the development of the Swiss chiropractic PBRN and will use a cross-sectional design to collect information from chiropractic clinicians nationwide. Phase II will recruit patients aged 18 years or older with MSK pain from community-based chiropractic practices participating in the PBRN into a prospective chiropractic patient cohort pilot study.
Relevance: The Swiss ChiCo project will systematically gather real-world clinical practice information to create the basis for answering a range of present and future MSK healthcare research questions important to patients, clinicians, and policymakers.