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INTRODUCTION: Comprehensive pain management services are primarily located in urban areas, limiting specialist consultation opportunities for community healthcare providers. A community of practice (CoP) for pain management could create opportunities for consultation by establishing professional relationships between community healthcare providers and pain management specialists. A CoP is a group of people with a common concern, set of problems, or a passion for something they do. Members of a CoP for pain management increase their knowledge of evidence-based pain management strategies in a way that is meaningful and relevant. In this article, we provide evidence that TelePain, an interdisciplinary, case-based pain management teleconference consultation program through the University of Washington, qualifies as a CoP and present preliminary evidence of TelePain's effectiveness as a CoP for pain management.

METHODS: Specific behaviors and conversations gathered through participant observation during TelePain sessions were analyzed based on the 14 indicators Wegner developed to evaluate the presence of a CoP. To demonstrate preliminary effectiveness of TelePain as a CoP for pain management, descriptive statistics were used to summarize TelePain evaluation forms.

RESULTS: TelePain is an example of a successful CoP for pain management as demonstrated by the presence of Wegner's 14 indicators. Additionally, evaluation forms showed that TelePain enhanced community healthcare providers' knowledge of pain management strategies and that continued participation in TelePain lead to community healthcare providers' increased confidence in their ability to provide pain management.

CONCLUSION: TelePain, a CoP for pain management, facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration and allows members to develop interdisciplinary care plans for complex pain patients through case study discussions. Evidence-based pain management strategies gained through CoP membership could be disseminated to other healthcare providers in members' clinics, which has the potential of improving the care of chronic pain patients.