Tele-pain Training Helps Providers Serve Patients Suffering from Chronic Pain

By Karen Muchowski, MD, FAAFP – Family Medicine Residency, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton & Assistant Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Recent Tele-Pain training at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, attended by providers from Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Physical Therapy and Mental Health. (Courtesy photo)

As a Family Practitioner at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (NHCP), I divide my time between patient care and being a faculty member for the Family Medicine Residency program.  Here at the NHCP Family Medicine and Internal Medicine departments we take care of 1,000 active duty members and 19,000 dependents, many of whom suffer from chronic pain. Managing patients with chronic pain is often complex. It can be challenging for both providers and patients.

I recently became involved in the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Navy Comprehensive Pain Management Program’s (NCPMP) Tele-Pain lecture series. The NCPMP uses multidisciplinary methodologies to manage chronic pain. This new approach includes a Tele-Pain support project that leverages Video Tele-Conference (VTC) technology to increase access to pain consultations and trainings for patients and providers. When Christopher Spevak, MD, MPH, JD, NCPMP director of Communication, Consultation & Curriculum, asked if NHCP might benefit from the Tele-Pain lectures, my immediate answer was an enthusiastic yes! 

The Tele-Pain ECHO lecture series has been helpful to remind me that care of patients with chronic pain often requires therapies from many disciplines.  The lectures are well rounded and review traditional medical services as well as complementary services, such as acupuncture and therapeutic massage.  As word has spread about the series, providers from many disciplines have been eager to participate.  At our most recent lecture, we had providers from Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Physical Therapy and Mental Health.

NHCP is also the training site for 36 Family Medicine residents.  It is important that our residents graduate from the program feeling comfortable taking care of patients with pain.  To borrow a phrase, “it takes a village” to train a resident.  It has been great to be able to add this lecture series to their training.

If you are interested in participating in the Tele-Pain lecture series, please respond to this blog for more information.

For information on the NHCP Family Medicine Residency Program, click here.