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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on nonpharmacological pain management trials in military and veteran healthcare settings: an evaluation informed by implementation science.
Midboe AM, Javier SJ, Salsbury SA, Katsovich L, Burgess DJ, King HA, Taylor SL, Martino S, Mayer JM, Wallace RB, Der-Martirosian C, Kerns RD. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on nonpharmacological pain management trials in military and veteran healthcare settings: an evaluation informed by implementation science. Translational behavioral medicine. 2023 Aug 11; 13(8):601-611.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted healthcare and clinical research, including a suite of 11 pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs), across clinics within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). These PCTs were designed to evaluate an array of nonpharmacological treatments and models of care for treatment of patients with pain and co-occurring conditions. The aims of the study are to (a) describe modifications to PCTs and interventions to address the evolving pandemic and (b) describe the application of implementation science methods for evaluation of those PCT modifications. The project used a two-phase, sequential, mixed-methods design. In Phase I, we captured PCT disruptions and modifications via a Research Electronic Data Capture questionnaire, using Periodic Reflections methods as a guide. In Phase II, we utilized the Framework for Reporting Adaptations and Modifications-Expanded (FRAME) taxonomy to develop a focus group interview guide and checklist that would provide more in-depth data than Phase I. Data were analyzed using directed content analysis. Phase I revealed that all PCTs made between two and six trial modifications. Phase II, FRAME-guided analyses showed that the key goals for modifying interventions were increasing treatment feasibility and decreasing patient exposure to COVID-19, while preserving intervention core elements. Context (format) modifications led eight PCTs to modify parts of the interventions for virtual delivery. Content modifications added elements to enhance patient safety; tailored interventions for virtual delivery (counseling, exercise, mindfulness); and modified interventions involving manual therapies. Implementation science methods identified near-real-time disruptions and modifications to PCTs focused on pain management in veteran and military healthcare settings.