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Acceptability of a telecare intervention for persistent musculoskeletal pain.

Guilkey RE, Draucker CB, Wu J, Yu Z, Kroenke K. Acceptability of a telecare intervention for persistent musculoskeletal pain. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2018 Jan 1; 24(1):44-50.

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Introduction Persistent musculoskeletal pain is a prevalent, disabling, and often undertreated condition. This paper examines the acceptability of a telecare intervention for this condition. Methods The Stepped Care to Optimize Pain Care Effectiveness (SCOPE) intervention couples automatic symptom monitoring (ASM) with optimized analgesic care management by a nurse-physician team. Data from participants in the telecare intervention arm (n? = 124) of a randomized control trial of SCOPE were analysed to determine the acceptability of the telecare intervention as indicated by patient use and satisfaction. Results Most (93.5%) patients completed at least one ASM report, selecting equally web-based (49%) or interactive voice-recorded (51%) reporting. The median number of ASM reports and nurse contacts per patient was 15 and 12, respectively. Of 12 demographic and clinical factors examined, none predicted the number of ASM reports, whereas nurse contacts were more frequent in patients with higher pain severity or receiving opioids. Only a minority of ASM reports required an expedited nurse call, with the most frequent alerts being for a medication change, a nurse call or side effects. Most (92%) patients rated ASM as easy to use and found the ASM reporting (76%) and nurse contacts (81%) very or moderately helpful. Nearly three-fourths of patients rated their overall pain treatment as good to excellent. The most common suggestions from patient feedback were for a free-text messaging function, more frequent nurse contact and less redundancy in ASM reporting items. Discussion Participants generally found the telecare intervention a user-friendly and helpful approach for treating persistent musculoskeletal pain.

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