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Dorflinger LM, Ruser C, Sellinger J, Edens EL, Kerns RD, Becker WC. Integrating interdisciplinary pain management into primary care: development and implementation of a novel clinical program. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2014 Dec 1; 15(12):2046-54.
OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to develop and implement an interdisciplinary pain program integrated in primary care to address stakeholder-identified gaps. DESIGN: Program development and evaluation project utilizing a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach to address the identified problem of insufficient pain management resources within primary care. SETTING: A large Healthcare System within the Veterans Health Administration, consisting of two academically affiliated medical centers and six community-based outpatients clinics. METHODS: An interprofessional group of stakeholders participated in a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW), a consensus-building process to identify systems-level gaps and feasible solutions and obtain buy-in. Changes were implemented in 2012, and in a 1-year follow-up, we examined indicators of engagement in specialty and multimodal pain care services as well as patient and provider satisfaction. RESULTS: In response to identified barriers, RPIW participants proposed and outlined two readily implementable, interdisciplinary clinics embedded within primary care: 1) the Integrated Pain Clinic, providing in-depth assessment and triage to targeted resources; and 2) the Opioid Reassessment Clinic, providing assessment and structured monitoring of patients with evidence of safety, efficacy, or misuse problems with opioids. Implementation of these programs led to higher rates of engagement in specialty and multimodal pain care services; patients and providers reported satisfaction with these services. CONCLUSIONS: Our PDSA cycle engaged an interprofessional group of stakeholders that recommended introduction of new systems-based interventions to better integrate pain resources into primary care to address reported barriers. Early data suggest improved outcomes; examination of additional outcomes is planned.