Bridging the gap of care for chronic pain patients
Lantz, Stormy Paige
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Aim: Examine the need for multidisciplinary pain management support for primary care providers at a provider based ambulatory care setting in western Montana. Background: Although chronic pain ailments make up a significant portion of primary care provider visits, many providers do not feel equipped to manage nonmalignant chronic pain and often fear legal consequences of opioid prescribing. With gaps in pain specialist availability, provider comfort, and geographical and financial challenges, Telemedicine may help alleviate provider stress through the delivery of emotional support and structured case discussion and consultation, assisting providers with communication strategies, mental health referrals, and difficult decision-making surrounding opioid prescribing Method: Twenty six primary care providers received an electronic questionnaire to assess their pain management needs and views regarding the training, challenges, expectations, and impact of implementing Telehealth at their current organization. Results: Five out of twenty six providers participated in the project. Eighty percent (80% 'n=4') of providers said they would use Telehealth for pain management if it was available to them, identifying interprofessional collaborative practice, initial evaluation and treatment plan recommendation, ongoing treatments, and education as the most useful telehealth applications. Conclusion: Chronic pain management is a problem for primary care providers. Future research on small, rural organizations using telehealth to meet their patients' pain management needs and additional needs assessments are needed to gain insight into providers engagement levels prior to moving forward with implementation of a Telehealth program at this organization to ensure a successful implementation.