The PEDro prize was awarded to the person who presents the best report of a randomised controlled trial at the TRANSFORM2019 Physiotherapy Conference. The award recognises the achievements of researchers who conduct high quality, clinically important randomised controlled trials. To be eligible, the presentation must have been a primary report for a completed randomised controlled trial that evaluates the effects of a physiotherapy intervention. Judging was carried out by a panel, with scoring based on quality (risk of bias, size, design and analysis of the trial) as well as significance (importance of the findings for clinical practice).
The TRANSFORM2019 winner of the PEDro prize was Rana Hinman, from the University of Melbourne, for her presentation titled “Telephone-delivered exercise advice and behaviour change support by physiotherapists for people with knee osteoarthritis: the TELECARE pragmatic randomised controlled trial.”
In the trial, 175 people with chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis were recruited across Australia and randomised to an existing nurse led telephone service (n = 88) or exercise advice and support from a physiotherapist via telephone (n = 87). The existing service group received one telephone consultation with a nurse for self-management advice. The exercise advice and support group also received 5-10 telephone consultations with a physiotherapist trained in behaviour change for a personalised strengthening program and physical activity plan. Primary outcomes were overall average knee pain (range 0-10) and difficulty with physical function (0-68) at 6 months (primary time-point) and 12 months (secondary time-point). At 6 months, the exercise advice and support group reported greater improvement in function (mean difference 4.7 units (95% confidence interval 1.0 to 8.4)) but not overall pain (0.7 units (0.0 to 1.4)) than the existing service group. By 12 months, most outcomes were similar between groups.
The trial concluded that incorporating physiotherapist-led exercise advice and support into an existing telephone service resulted in modest improvements in physical function at 6 months. This is encouraging for the many Australians with knee osteoarthritis, who may be unable to access face to face physiotherapy because they live in rural or remote settings.