Panel-based pain management in primary care. a pilot study

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2001 Jul;22(1):584-90. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(01)00301-3.


Although pain is an extremely common symptom presenting to primary care physicians, it frequently is not optimally managed. The purpose of this feasibility study was to develop and pilot-test an efficient, rapid assessment and management approach for pain in busy community practices. The intervention utilized the Dartmouth COOP Clinical Improvement System (DCCIS) and a telephone-based, nurse-educator intervention. Patients from four primary care practices in rural New Hampshire and Vermont were screened by mail for the presence of persistent pain. Patients with mild to severe pain were randomized to either the usual care control group (n = 383) or the intervention group (n = 320). Patients who reported pain but no psychosocial problems received a summary of identified problems and targeted educational material via mail (DCCIS). Patients who reported pain and psychosocial problems received the DCCIS intervention and calls from a nurse-educator who provided pain self-management strategies and a problem-solving approach for psychosocial problems. Post-treatment evaluation revealed that patients in the intervention group scored significantly better on the Pain, Physical, Emotional, and Social subscales of the SF-36 and on the total score of the Functional Interference Scale, as compared to a usual care control group. Feasibility and acceptability of the approach were demonstrated; however, the conclusions based on analyses of the post-treatment outcomes were tempered by baseline imbalances across groups.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*