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Hinman RS, Campbell PK, Kimp AJ, et al. Telerehabilitation consultations with a physiotherapist for chronic knee pain versus in-person consultations in Australia: the PEAK non-inferiority randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2024 Mar 30;403(10433):1267-1278. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(23)02630-2. Epub 2024 Mar 7. (Original study)
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Telerehabilitation whether perceived as less effective than in-person care for musculoskeletal problems. We aimed to determine if physiotherapy video conferencing consultations were non-inferior to in-person consultations for chronic knee pain.

METHODS: In this non-inferiority randomised controlled trial, we recruited primary care physiotherapists from 27 Australian clinics. Using computer-generated blocks, participants with chronic knee pain consistent with osteoarthritis were randomly assigned (1:1, stratified by physiotherapist and clinic) in-person or telerehabilitation (ie, video conferencing) physiotherapist consultations. Participants and physiotherapists were unmasked to group assignment. Both groups had five consultations over 3 months for strengthening, physical activity, and education. Primary outcomes were knee pain (on a numerical rating scale of 0-10) and physical function (using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities osteoarthritis index of 0-68) at 3 months after randomisation. Primary analysis was by modified intention-to-treat using all available data. This trial is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12619001240134.

FINDINGS: Between Dec 10, 2019, and June 17, 2022, 394 adults were enrolled, with 204 allocated to in-person care and 190 to telerehabilitation. 15 primary care physiotherapists were recruited. At 3 months, 383 (97%) participants provided information for primary outcomes and both groups reported improved pain (mean change 2·98, SD 2·23 for in-person care and 3·14, 1·87 for telerehabilitation) and function (10·20, 11·63 and 10·75, 9·62, respectively). Telerehabilitation was non-inferior for pain (mean difference 0·16, 95% CI -0·26 to 0·57) and function (1·65, -0·23 to 3·53). The number of participants reporting adverse events was similar between groups (40 [21%] for in-person care and 35 [19%] for telerehabilitation) and none were serious.

INTERPRETATION: Telerehabilitation with a physiotherapist is non-inferior to in-person care for chronic knee pain.

FUNDING: National Health and Medical Research Council.

Ratings
Discipline Area Score
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 6 / 7
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