The one-stop diagnostic clinic in shoulder surgery: costs and benefits

Shoulder pain is one of the most common causes for referral from general practice to the orthopaedic surgeon. Diagnosis and treatment of shoulder problems involves consultation for clinical examination, radiographic examination and further imaging of the shoulder with magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound scans. We have developed a ‘one-stop clinic’ setup to shorten and improve the treatment for our patients. The one-stop shoulder clinic utilises examination techniques, radiographs and ultrasound scans performed by the surgeons. It aims to identify those patients whose pathology is not amenable to surgery as soon as possible. The one-stop clinic system provides better treatment and service to the patient population with further substantial cost benefits that extend from the individual to the economy in general. Our simple cost analysis model estimates a significant saving to healthcare commissioners and patients within our healthcare trust. We would advocate healthcare commissioners to consider the one-stop system of managing shoulder complaints in order to reduce healthcare and societal costs for managing this common condition.

Keywords: ultrasound scan, one-stop clinic shoulder, costs.

(Clinician in Management, 15:37-41, 2007.)