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Hayes CJ, Gannon MA, Woodward EN, Long CR, George M, Ray-Griffith S, Tobey LR, Goree J. Implementation and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Multidisciplinary Telemedicine Pilot Initiative for Patients with Chronic Non-Cancer Pain in Rural and Underserved Areas at a Major Academic Medical Center. Journal of pain research. 2023 Jan 5; 16:doi.org/10.1007/s13187-022-02253-w.
BACKGROUND: Arkansas lacks adequate access to high-quality pain care, as evidenced, in part, by it having the second highest opioid prescribing rate in the United States. To improve access to high-quality treatment of chronic pain, we developed the Arkansas Improving Multidisciplinary Pain Care and Treatment (AR-IMPACT) Telemedicine Clinic, a multidisciplinary and interprofessional team of specialists who provide evidence-based pain management for patients with chronic pain. METHODS: We conducted a single-arm pilot trial of the AR-IMPACT Telemedicine Clinic with rural, university-affiliated primary care clinics. We assessed the AR-IMPACT Telemedicine Clinic using an implementation framework and preliminary effectiveness measures. Specifically, we assessed 5 of the 8 implementation outcomes of the framework (ie, penetration, adoption, acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility) using a mixed methods approach. To evaluate implementation outcomes, we used surveys, interviews, and administrative data. We used electronic health record data to measure preliminary effectiveness (ie, changes in average morphine milligram equivalents per day and pain and depression scores). RESULTS: The AR-IMPACT team saw 23 patients that were referred by 13 primary care physicians from three rural, university-affiliated primary care clinics over one year. Of the 19 patients willing to participate in the pilot study, 12 identified as women, 31.6% identified as Black, and over 50% had less than a bachelor's level education. Patients rated the clinic positively with high overall satisfaction. Referring physicians indicated high levels of appropriateness, acceptability, and feasibility of the program. AR-IMPACT team members identified several barriers and facilitators to the feasibility of implementing the program. No changes in preliminary effectiveness measures were statistically significant. CONCLUSION: Overall, the AR-IMPACT Telemedicine Clinic obtained moderate penetration and adoption, was highly acceptable to patients, was highly acceptable and appropriate to providers, and was moderately feasible to providers and AR-IMPACT team members.