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Patients and healthcare professionals perspectives on creating a chronic pain support line in Portugal: A qualitative study protocol.


Chronic pain affects almost 38% of the Portuguese adult population, with high costs for both patients and society. Those who suffer with chronic pain frequently complain of feeling misunderstood and of lack of support. These complaints are the main reason why support telephone lines for chronic pain were created in some countries. However, there is no scientific data supporting their creation or evaluating their performance. This paper presents a qualitative study protocol to assess patients and healthcare professionals' perspectives on the creation of a telephone support line for chronic pain. It constitutes the first step to attain the main goal of developing and implementing a functioning support line for chronic pain in Portugal. The methodology to assess patients and healthcare professionals' perspectives and needs is presented. In order to gather information as close to reality as possible, focus groups interviews were chosen as data sources. Given the present context of the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings will take place online, using a digital platform. All interviews will be transcribed verbatim, coded and synthesised into categories and main themes. Thematic analysis will be conducted using NVivo® V12 software, employing an iterative and reflexive approach. Finally, comparative and relational analysis will be performed in order to identify topics where patients and professionals converge or greatly diverge. The findings will be useful for grounding the creation of a telephone support line for chronic pain patients. Results dissemination will be important for policy-makers to develop a new perspective towards chronic pain services available.