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Lack of Neuromodulation Knowledge Among Rural Family Medicine Residents: A Call for Implementation Research.

Goree JH, Hayes C, Petersen E, Curran G. Lack of Neuromodulation Knowledge Among Rural Family Medicine Residents: A Call for Implementation Research. Journal of pain research. 2022 Apr 21; 15:1183-1189.

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Objective: Spinal cord stimulation is a proven, evidence-based therapy for persistent spinal pain syndrome. While some patients with this disease are managed by chronic pain physicians, many are managed in primary care offices. Despite mounting evidence, dissemination of this research outside of neuromodulation related fields and implementation of this treatment in common practice has not yet occurred. We hypothesize that family medicine residents in rural training programs will have little knowledge of neuromodulation despite it being an evidence-based and common treatment of post-laminectomy syndrome. Materials and Methods: Online surveys were sent to family medicine residents in six rural family medicine training programs at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Regional Programs to characterize knowledge of neuromodulation as a treatment for post-laminectomy syndrome. Results: Forty-one percent of responding rural, Arkansas family medicine residents reported treating post-laminectomy syndrome during their training, yet only 10% have referred a patient for neuromodulation consultation. Residents rated their knowledge of neuromodulation/spinal cord stimulation at 19 on a scale of 0 (no knowledge) to 100 (extensive knowledge). Conclusion: Despite proof that neuromodulation is an evidence-based treatment for post-laminectomy/failed back syndrome, rural family medicine residents have limited knowledge about the therapy and many do not consider a referral for neuromodulation. Further research to ascertain effective implementation strategies to increase the uptake of neuromodulation for patients with post-laminectomy syndrome is desperately needed.

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