Musculoskeletal (MSK) Assessments Project

Bone and Joint Health SCNTM


Alberta is advancing how Albertan’s access and receive musculoskeletal (MSK) Assessments. The Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network (BJHSCN) is convinced that through collaboration with multiple stakeholders, we can collectively standardize the assessment process, position ourselves for sustainable funding, use outcome measures to ensure high quality, and provide patients and providers with consistent communication regarding their resulting treatment plan.


The Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network (BJH SCN) is one of the sixteen Alberta Health Services (AHS) Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs). The SCNs are tasked with driving quality improvement and innovation by leveraging knowledge translation.

The BJH SCN has three strategic goals:

  1. Maximize Albertans’ mobility and function
  2. Mend Albertans’ disability from bone and joint disorders and injuries
  3. Mitigate Albertans’ risk for bone and joint injuries and conditions

The BJH SCN supports two very successful programs that have networks of stakeholders engaged and dedicated to continuous quality improvement (QI).

These are supported in partnership with the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute (ABJHI) a private charity that offers a number of services: data management, quality improvement strategy (includes project management, change management and stakeholder engagement), research services, and big data solutions. Lessons learned from these two programs will be leveraged to successfully accomplish a new initiative: improving access to musculoskeletal (MSK) services, which is aligned with the BJH SCN’s strategic goals.

Opportunity/Clinical Issue

There are unnecessary queues and long wait lists to see providers with expertise in MSK that result in patients not receiving a timely assessment. There is also a wide variety in the MSK expertise and assessment process, resulting in patients not necessarily receiving a consistent and comprehensive assessment.

This is true for a variety of MSK conditions including shoulder pains and injuries. Shoulder injuries, specifically, would benefit greatly from an accurate and timely assessment from an expert because the majority of patients do not require surgery and could be well treated with education and non-surgical treatment such as exercise and active rehabilitation.

Therefore, improved access to a timely and accurate assessment is one of the primary goals of this project. Improving access to timely assessment contributes to earlier initiation of exercise and active rehabilitation which in turn results in quicker return to activities of daily living, recreation and work.

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