Musculoskeletal Transformation

Bone and Joint Health SCNTM

masked professional helps patient walk

Contact Us
If you have questions about MSK Transformation email:


The Bone and Joint Health SCN Musculoskeletal (MSK) Transformation is focused on transforming and advancing MSK care in Alberta. The goal is for Albertans to return quicker to daily living, recreation and work activities.


Many patients are not receiving timely care due to long wait times to see providers with MSK expertise. There is also a wide variation in assessment processes and patient journeys that result in poor outcomes for many.

Uncertainty and variability of care can result in increased opioid usage, excess referrals for specialist consults, unnecessary diagnostic imaging, difficulty in providing high quality care, and higher health care costs.


The Bone and Joint Health SCN is committed to improving access to timely and comprehensive assessment and reducing variation in care by:

  1. Using evidence and informed clinical judgment to develop clinical pathways for MSK conditions. The pathways help guide assessment, screening, history-taking, physical examination, diagnosis, and treatment.
  2. Assisting Primary Care in delivering more efficient patient care by providing timely access to specialist multidisciplinary teams with MSK expertise (i.e., orthopaedic surgeons, specialist physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, athletic therapists, etc.).
  3. Integrating with the Facilitated Access to Specialized Treatment (FAST) program, as part of the Alberta Surgical Initiative (ASI), to streamline referral processes and reduce surgical wait times.

MSK Clinical Pathways

MSK Assessment

Overview: Transforming the MSK Assessment Path

Three Working Groups – Shoulder, Knee, and Spine Health - have begun engaging with Alberta MSK assessment clinics to review practices and models of care, bring forward evidence, and co-design and review an assessment pathway with the goal of spreading the pathway provincially. Updates are provided below for each Working Group.

MSK Treatment

As work progresses on the MSK assessment pathways, attention will shift to developing standardized provincial treatment pathways for musculoskeletal care.


Conditions that affect bone, joints, and muscle are very prevalent in the Albertan population and are often treated in primary care. The BJH SCN recognizes the important role that primary care – family physicians and primary care networks – has in supporting Albertans living with MSK conditions.

To better understand the direct and indirect MSK care offered to patients across Alberta’s Primary Care Networks (PCNs), the BJH SCN and the Primary Health Care Integration Network (PHCIN) conducted a review that identified opportunities to:

  • support PCNs in providing first-line treatment and conservative management of bone, joint and muscle conditions, and
  • expand the direct MSK care (services, programs, clinics) provided in PCNs, particularly in the Calgary, South, Central and North zones.

MSK care in Alberta’s Primary Care Networks (2021)