Implementation of Health Information Technology in Routine Care for Fibromyalgia: Pilot Study

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Abstract

Fibromyalgia management remains complicated and challenging. Health information technology is an evidence-based, nonpharmacological self and symptom management strategy, but few studies have evaluated its feasibility for managing fibromyalgia patients in clinical practice. FibroGuide is an example of an evidence-based, interactive, and computer-based program comprised of 10 educational modules on fibromyalgia. Study aims were to: (1) develop a process for implementing FibroGuide into the routine care of patients with fibromyalgia, (2) evaluate the overall impact on fibromyalgia before and after a 12-week implementation, and (3) assess patient perspectives on using FibroGuide health information technology to assist in self-management. In this pilot study, 35 participants with fibromyalgia were recruited from an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse's outpatient clinic. Using a descriptive design, quantitative data analysis was employed to address study aims. Based on data collection pre- and post-intervention using paired samples testing, a statistically significant change (p= .017) was observed in overall fibromyalgia impact (improved symptom severity, activity, and function). Majority felt that FibroGuide was helpful as part of their routine care, and nearly half reported that it assisted in their self-management. Although 65% noted that technology was an effective and efficient way to receive education for fibromyalgia management, 57% preferred talking to healthcare providers. Larger longitudinal studies are needed on the use of health information technology in fibromyalgia, evaluating both statistical and clinical significance, while decreasing barriers to participant use for this promising adjunct to clinical management. Providers need to be well educated on supporting self-management strategies and health information technology.

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