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Perceptions about clinical value of electronic pain assessment data

      As health care settings adopt Electronic Medical Records, it is important for pain assessments to be available in an electronic format. Electronic assessments offer the opportunity to access aggregate/de-identified data. Through interviews conducted in this study we aimed to understand how clinical settings could benefit from data collected by electronic pain assessments. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinicians and clinical administrators from a number of clinical settings that focused on what assessment data would be valuable, how these data would be used, and what the barriers to data collection would be. Interviews were conducted over the phone and through online conferences. All participants reported existing processes for assessing patients and identified challenges in conducting assessments. Specific data elements considered important by at least 50% of the participants included: psycho/social situation, quality of life, pain level, history and/or current substance abuse, and medication dosage. Most participants (88%) reported that the capacity to track change in data over time would be valuable. Participants indicated that these data would be used for: treatment planning, justification of treatment services, evaluation of clinician performance, and tracking of individual patient progress. In addition, 38% of participants would be interested in being able to compare data from their clinic with other clinics, and 50% saw value in sharing data. If reports presenting aggregate assessment data were available 38% of participants preferred longer narrative reports, while38% preferred the shorter dash-board reports. While there were concerns around adopting new technology to complete the electronic pain assessments, uncertainty as to how assessment data would influence organizational change and concerns about the reliability of patient data were the biggest barriers. Although some specific data elements of value were identified, more interviews need to be conducted to confirm these initial findings. This research was supported by an educational grant from Endo Pharmaceuticals.