Purcell N, Zamora K, Tighe J, Li Y, Douraghi M, Seal K. The Integrated Pain Team: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Impact of an Embedded Interdisciplinary Pain Care Intervention on Primary Care Team Satisfaction, Confidence, and Perceptions of Care Effectiveness. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2018 Sep 1; 19(9):1748-1763.
To evaluate the impact of the Integrated Pain Team (IPT)-an interdisciplinary chronic pain care intervention embedded in primary care at a large Veterans Affairs health care system. Outcomes evaluated included IPT's impact on the perceived effectiveness of chronic pain care; provider self-confidence; and primary care team satisfaction, stress, and burnout.
This mixed-methods quality-improvement study employed: 1) qualitative semistructured interviews of 61 primary care providers, other primary care team members, and organizational stakeholders; and 2) a supplementary quantitative survey of 65 providers, comparing those who had referred patients to IPT with those who had not.
Most interview participants reported that IPT improved chronic pain care by providing patients with a comprehensive pain treatment plan, educating them about opioid risks, and introducing multimodal treatment options. Interviewed care team members reported improved patient education and fewer emotionally charged contacts from patients. Interviewed providers felt that IPT allowed them to focus their time on health concerns other than pain. However, our supplemental survey found that IPT-utilizing providers were no more confident than other providers in their own pain care skills or in their relationships with chronic pain patients.
Integrating an interdisciplinary chronic pain care intervention into primary care can provide needed support to care teams and may improve chronic pain care. Elements of the IPT model identified as important to its effectiveness include its interdisciplinary biopsychosocial approach and attentive patient follow-up. However, enhancing providers' confidence and self-efficacy in chronic pain care may require educational and support resources beyond the current IPT model.