Feasibility and acceptance of telemedical consultations in pain patients
Prevalence of chronic pain is reported within a range from 10% to 30% in Germany, with increasing tendency. Chronic pain is a widespread problem that is generally undertreated, due to patients` physical limitations, geographical distance from pain specialist treatment, economic and educational limitations. Waiting times for pain specialist treatment often exceed 6 months, even if the services are geographically available. The growing field of telemedicine offers novel opportunities to improve pain treatment availability by pain specialists.
Despite the increasing popularity, evidence on acceptability and efficacy of telemedicine in pain management is still limited. For this reason, the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer) demanded in 2015 to examine the acceptance of telemedicine methods among physicians and patients.
The aim of this study is to assess feasibility, technical performance and patient acceptance of a remote presence system (face to screen) compared to a conventional consultation (face to face) during treatment of patients suffering from chronic and perioperative pain.
Two patient groups consisting of approximately 120 participants will be examined (group 1: chronic pain patients, group 2: postoperative pain patients). Both groups receive telemedical consultation (face to screen), excepted of an additional (control) group receiving conventional consultation (face to face). All groups will be surveyed after consultation by a standardized paper-based questionnaire. The survey focuses on respondent’s acceptance regarding technology and telemedicine in general and, in particular, on telemedical consultation. Also about 10 patients and physicians as well as other investigators will be interviewed (structured guideline interview). In addition, those physicians who have performed a telemedical consultation will also be surveyed by a standardized questionnaire.