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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Mar 2020 - 20 Mar 2020

Human Studies

2020 Mar 16

Mil Med

The Use of Telepain for Chronic Pain in the U.S. Armed Forces: Patient Experience from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.


Chronic pain affects over 100 million American adults. The prevalence of chronic pain is even higher among U.S. military personnel. Approximately 44% of active duty military experience pain upon returning from deployment compared with 26% of the general public who experience chronic pain. The high prevalence of chronic pain within the Military Health System is compounded by limited access to chronic pain specialists, specifically with regard to patients at remote military treatment facilities (MTFs). Thus, when compared to personnel at tertiary care MTFs, they often have decreased access to care and experience increased time away from their mission to receive care. Since 2009, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has been using telemedicine to extend chronic pain consults to remote MTFs within the National Capital Region (NCR). The goal of this study was to determine if patients referred to the WRNMMC Telepain Program reported improvements in subjective measures associated with accessing care. To accomplish this, we surveyed a convenience sample of patients using the service to determine if participation: (1) improved pain, (2) improved quality of life, (3) decreased travel time, (4) improved access to care, and (5) decreased time away from work.