eHealth interventions could help African-American patients in battle with chronic pain

June 14, 2021

By Steven Bartolotta

The PRECISION Pain Research Registry at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth has identified important racial disparities in pain management that became more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its study recently published in the special COVID-19 supplement to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that African-American patients less often received non-pharmacological treatments for chronic low back and reported worse pain intensity and disability outcomes during the pandemic.

The registry is now planning a study to determine if eHealth interventions used for chronic pain during the pandemic may be tailored specifically to African-American patients. The intervention would take self-reported health information provided by patients and then provide them with a “Health-Related Quality-of -Life Report” and coaching on how to cope with chronic pain.


Learn if you qualify to enroll in the PRECISION Pain Research Registry.


John Licciardone Hsc Fort Worth Fc

A similar study known as the QUALMAN Trial (Quality of Life in Managing Chronic Pain) was recently completed by TCOM’s Dr. John Licciardone and published in Healthcare. The study demonstrated encouraging results with an eHealth intervention for patient pain self-management that was simple to understand and had essentially no costs or side effects.

“The registry is conducting innovative research using a digital research platform to reach patients throughout the nation,” said Dr. Licciardone. “Our randomized registry trials use a new research paradigm that has been described as potentially the ‘next disruptive technology in clinical research’ by the New England Journal of Medicine.”

More than 1,600 patients are currently enrolled in the registry’s research, which includes collecting biological samples for genomic analysis. The registry focuses primarily on chronic low back pain because it is the most prevalent anatomical site of pain and causes the greatest disability.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Physicians have issued clinical practice guidelines for treatment of chronic low back pain. An important area of registry research involves determining if racial disparities exist in physician adherence to these guidelines.

“Our registry data thus far indicate that African-American patients are not always treated in a manner consistent with the guidelines,” said Dr. Licciardone. “We aim to determine the barriers to acquiring such guideline-informed care and proposing solutions.”


HSC is working to eliminate health disparities

HSC, driven by its core value to Serve Others First, is committed to helping deliver health care and improving access to all Texans through service and education.


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