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Implementation of telementoring for pain management in Veterans Health Administration: Spatial analysis.

Carey EP, Frank JW, Kerns RD, Ho PM, Kirsh SR. Implementation of telementoring for pain management in Veterans Health Administration: Spatial analysis. Journal of rehabilitation research and development. 2016 Feb 1; 53(1):147-56.

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In 2011, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) implemented a pilot telementoring program across seven healthcare networks called the Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO) for pain management. A VHA healthcare network is a group of hospitals and clinics administratively linked in a geographic area. We created a series of county-level maps in one network displaying (1) the location of Veterans with chronic pain, (2) VHA sites (i.e., coordinating center, other medical centers, outpatient clinics), (3) proportion of Veterans being seen in-person at pain specialty clinics, and (4) proportion of Veterans with access to a primary care provider participating in Pain SCAN-ECHO. We calculated the geodesic distance from Veterans' homes to nearest VHA pain specialty care clinics. We used logistic regression to determine the association between distance and Pain SCAN-ECHO primary care provider participation. Mapping showed counties closer to the Pain SCAN-ECHO coordinating center had a higher rate of Veterans whose providers participated in Pain SCAN-ECHO than those further away. Regression models within networks revealed wide heterogeneity in the reach of Pain SCAN-ECHO to Veterans with low spatial access to pain care. Using geographic information systems can reveal the spatial reach of technology-based healthcare programs and inform future expansion.

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