Description: Chronic pain is a leading public health concern and of particular interest to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). According to a 2011 IOM report, Chronic pain affects ~ 100 million Americans at a cost of ~ $635 billion annually. However, estimates of the incidence of chronic pain in other published studies have varied considerably from 33%. In this presentation, we will provide a focused review of published observational studies that implemented various definitions of chronic pain. We will highlight VA studies in this review and contrast different approaches to defining chronic pain using administrative data. We will present preliminary findings from an effort to build a nationwide cohort of Veterans experiencing chronic pain. In this study, we implemented a multifaceted definition of chronic pain based on pain scores, diagnostic codes, and opioid medication use. We will use these findings to frame an interactive discussion among attendees of optimal definitions of chronic pain using administrative data and of the implications of these definitions on the implementation and evaluation of VHA pain care.
Target Audience: VA Researchers with an interest in using administrative data to study chronic pain