Assessing individual outcomes during outpatient multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment by means of an augmented SF-36

Pain Med. 2000 Mar;1(1):44-54. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4637.2000.99102.x.


Objective: To meet the growing demand for objective outcomes measurement during treatment of chronic pain, we developed an instrument to track outcomes of individual patients.

Method: In a 2-phase study, existing and novel outcomes instruments were applied in an interdisciplinary pain management program. In the initial phase, 408 patients were administered the Short Form 36-item questionnaire and during phase 2, 437 patients (87 of whom were followed) were given an expanded (191-item) questionnaire.

Results: When applied to individual patients, the Short Form 26-item questionnaire lacked measurement reliability for assessment of treatment outcomes and sensitivity to upper extremity or facial pathology, and failed to separate limitations of work versus everyday activity. A novel group of scales derived from responses to 61 questions, including the Short Form 36-item questionnaire, proved sufficiently reliable for routine follow-up of individual chronic pain patients.

Conclusions: This new Treatment Outcomes in Pain Survey allows assessment of individual patient outcomes, and aggregate or individual clinician performance, during interdisciplinary treatment of chronic pain.