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Can J Pain



Triage processes at multidisciplinary chronic pain clinics: An international review of current procedures.



: Multidisciplinary pain clinics are considered the gold standard for the treatment of chronic pain, yet access to such clinics is difficult and patients' conditions deteriorate while waiting. Instituting a triage process is one way of reducing wait time for some patients and ensuring optimal access given the limited resources available. Surprisingly, there are no established guidelines on how to optimally triage chronic pain patients at tertiary multidisciplinary pain clinics. : The goal of this study was to gather information regarding existing triage systems in multidisciplinary chronic pain clinics worldwide as an initial step toward establishing a definitive evidence-based set of triage guidelines. : A total of 66 multidisciplinary pain clinics worldwide completed an online survey detailing current triage practices at their clinic. The survey was distributed via international and national pain associations. : Results showed that the vast majority of multidisciplinary pain clinics (94%) use a triage system, yet many difficulties with these systems have been identified (time requirement, administrative burden, lack of control over scheduling, missing high-priority patients, and prioritizing low-priority patients). The level of satisfaction was noted to be higher in those clinics using a structured triage template. : This study identified a need for the elaboration of best practice clinical guidelines for triage processes at tertiary pain clinics. The use of a structured referral template could become a central element to such guidelines.