Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of pain and disability in Australia, with the knee most commonly affected. OA is the 11th highest contributor to global disability, and the 6th most frequently managed problem by Australian general practitioners.
Knee OA can be very debilitating with ongoing pain and decreased function as the disease progresses. This is further exacerbated by co-morbidities such as obesity. Health expenditure on OA in Australia in 2012 was $3.75 billion with total economic costs estimated to be $22 billion. Demand for knee OA health services are likely to increase with an ageing population.
The PARTNER study is evaluating a new model of service delivery to improve the management of knee OA in people presenting to primary care. The PARTNER model of health service delivery is a centralised, remotely-delivered, multi-disciplinary care support team, embedded within primary care, designed to supplement GP OA management.