A research study has been published in the British Journal of Pain demonstrating the clinical effectiveness and healthcare cost-savings of Wellmind Health's online intensive pain management programme (PMP), Pathway through Pain.
Funded by NHS Buckinghamshire CCG and in collaboration with Bucks New University and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, the research results demonstrated significant positive clinical outcomes that rival that of the same intervention delivered face to face. Health care costs per patient were also shown to be substantially reduced in the year following referral.
The study showed that patients who completed the course made significant improvements with regard to their perceived health status, level of disability, mood, confidence managing pain, problems in life due to pain and level of pain. Around one-third of participants made reliable changes in their levels of disability, depression and anxiety.
Comparisons of health care costs (A&E, outpatient and inpatient contacts) were also made between those who engaged with the course and those who did not. The study found that “the cost of health care for those who engaged with the programme was £240 less per patient than for those who did not engage”. This dramatic reduction in health care costs, coinciding with the considerable health improvements reported represent a significant evidence-base for the merit of delivering a PMP digitally without compromising patient health outcomes.
Pathway through Pain is an online version of the established intensive Pain Management Programme (PMP) widely used in healthcare as an intervention for chronic musculoskeletal pain. The 24-step course guides participants through all the elements of the intensive PMP in a flexible and highly accessible online format. The course has been running since 2012, offered to UK National Health Service (NHS) chronic pain patients directly by clinician referral, through primary and secondary health care settings, from GP Surgeries and Pain Clinics to IAPT and Community Health Services, all with good success.
As the research article addresses, the high prevalence of chronic/persistent pain in the UK calls for alternative methods to face-to-face treatment.
"It's great to gain recognition in this groundbreaking research study that not only supports previous research on the effectiveness of digital interventions for chronic pain, but also highlights the potential to significantly reduce health care costs and reduce the strain on current health care services by helping meet the ever growing demand for effective chronic pain management, on scale. We're proud of all we've accomplished so far with Pathway through Pain and look forward to even greater success in the future"
The research findings evaluating the clinical effectiveness and cost-savings of this digital pain management programme were published in the British Journal of Pain on July 22nd 2019.
Reference: Pimm, T. J., Williams, L. J., Reay, M., Pickering, S., Lota, R., Coote, L., Sarhan, F. (2019). An evaluation of a digital pain management programme: clinical effectiveness and cost savings. British Journal of Pain. https://doi.org/10.1177/2049463719865286