A study of healthcare utilization in patients with chronic low back pain using Alberta’s administrative health data

This study examined the temporal trends of healthcare service and medicine utilization and explored the care quality of patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) by assessing inappropriate use of medicine, using Alberta's administrative health data from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2018.

The prevalence of CLBP in Alberta increased from 1.8% FY 2011/12 to 3.0% in FY 2017/18, and the number of CLBP patients increased from 72,094 to 145,013 during this period. More female patients were affected, and majority of patients were in the 40 and 64 years age group. There was a substantial increase in the total healthcare services. Practitioner claims increased from 1.9 million to 4.5 million. Interventional radiology procedures increased from 9,430 to 27,223. Diagnostic imaging examinations increased from 13,104 to 17,033. The total number of medicines dispensed increased from 2.5 million to 6.4 million. The four indicators of inappropriate use of medicine in CLBP management showed different trends. Information on polypharmacy, and opioid utilization and related outcomes are outlined in the report.

Publication Type: Economic Reports

Year of Publication: 2020

Topics: Health Economics / Healthcare Costs

Authors: Thomas Lo