Role of telehealth/videoconferencing in managing cancer pain in rural American Indian communities

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Objectives:This project is aimed at determining the feasibility and effect of using videoconferencing to deliver cancer-related pain management education and case consultation to health care providers in rural AI/AN communities.Methods:The project provided four educational sessions and nine case conferences to health care providers at tribal clinics in Washington State and Alaska using videoconferencing with pain experts at the University of Washington. A cross-sectional, descriptive study design was used to survey the participating providers. Measures included satisfaction with the telehealth system and self-perceived competence in pain management.Results:Fifty-two providers from 11 sites attended the educational sessions. Ninety-three providers from 16 sites participated in the case conferences. Case conference participants scored significantly higher on perceived competence in treating pain compared with clinic providers who did not attend. Educational session participants and case conference participants both reported a high level of satisfaction with videoconferencing.Conclusions:Telehealth is a feasible and effective way to deliver cancer-related pain management education and increase competence among rural health care providers. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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