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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 May 2021 - 14 May 2021


Pain Rep



Telehealth and chronic pain management from rapid adaptation to long-term implementation in pain medicine: A narrative review.


The COVID-19 pandemic called for drastic changes to expand and rapidly implement telehealth to prevent breach of care for chronic patients. Responding to the challenge of implementing remote care in chronic pain services, a specialty highly dependent on doctor-patient rapport, physical examination, and frequent follow-up visits requires extensive adaptation involving administrative processes and clinical routines. We present our experience of a successful rapid adaptation to telemedicine paradigm as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a time of marked restriction of access to ambulatory hospital services for pediatric and adult chronic pain patients. This narrative review covers current scientific evidence for the use of telehealth for chronic pain management and describes in detail the challenges to implement telemedicine in ambulatory clinics from different perspectives. Best practices for telehealth use are recommended. A proposal for remote physical examination of pain patients is made, based on available evidence in the fields of musculoskeletal medicine and neurology comparing in-person vs remote physical examination. As an internal quality control process, an informal online survey was conducted to assess thoughts and experiences among patients and caregivers using telemedicine consultation services at the pediatric pain clinic. Providing chronic pain management services through telehealth is a viable option for many patients and health care professionals. This is reliant on the availability of appropriate materials and training, with guidelines for both patients and health care workers. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, even further integration of telehealth into routine health care is possible.