Objective: Pain is an extremely common complaint in primary care, and patient outcomes are often suboptimal. This project evaluated the impact of Project ECHO Pain videoconference case-based learning sessions on knowledge and quality of pain care in two Federally Qualified Health Centers. Design: Quasi-experimental, pre-post intervention, with comparison group. Setting: Two large, multisite federally qualified health centers in Connecticut and Arizona. Subjects: Intervention (N = 10) and comparison (N = 10) primary care providers. Methods: Primary care providers attended 48 weekly Project ECHO Pain sessions between January and December 2013, led by a multidisciplinary pain specialty team. Surveys and focus groups assessed providers' pain-related knowledge and self-efficacy. Electronic health record data were analyzed to evaluate opioid prescribing and specialty referrals. Results: Compared with control, primary care providers in the intervention had a significantly greater increase in pain-related knowledge and self-efficacy. Providers who attended ECHO were more likely to use formal assessment tools and opioid agreements and refer to behavioral health and physical therapy compared with control providers. Opioid prescribing decreased significantly more among providers in the intervention compared with those in the control group. Conclusions: Pain is an extremely common and challenging problem, particularly among vulnerable patients such as those cared for at the more than 1,200 Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States. In this study, attendance at weekly Project ECHO Pain sessions not only improved knowledge and self-efficacy, but also altered prescribing and referral patterns, suggesting that knowledge acquired during ECHO sessions translated into practice changes.
Anderson D, Zlateva I, Davis B, Bifulco L, Giannotti T, Coman E, Spegman D. Improving Pain Care with Project ECHO in Community Health Centers. Pain Med. 2017 Oct 1;18(10):1882-1889. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx187. PMID: 29044409; PMCID: PMC5914304.