Dr Hazel Godfrey
Research Assistant, Centre for Health, Activity & Rehabilitation Research, Wellington, NZ
Godfrey, Hazel K.
School of Physiotherapy, Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research (CHARR), University of Otago, Wellington, NZ; School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ; Pain Management Service, Capital & Coast DHB, Wellington, NZ; #School of Physiotherapy, Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research (CHARR), University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ;
Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington, NZ
Introduction: Online health resources (websites, apps and social media) are an alternative way to provide self-management training to people with persistent pain. Endorsement of online health resources by healthcare providers is crucial for uptake by end-users.
Aims: We investigated the current practices of New Zealand healthcare providers in recommending online resources for persistent pain management. Further, we explored factors predicting healthcare providers’ recommending online resources and their challenges to do so.
Methods: An online survey of NZ healthcare providers (i.e. Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, General Practitioners, and Specialist Consultants) involved in the management of persistent pain was conducted. The recruitment strategy was tailored to each occupation via occupation specific organizations, and by approaching multidisciplinary professional organisations.
Results: The data from 213 healthcare providers were used for final analysis. Most of the healthcare providers were physiotherapists (n=71), followed by chiropractors (n=39) and general practitioners (n=31). Fifty three percent (111/210) of healthcare providers reported currently recommending online resources. A multivariate logistic regression model showed that the specialist interest in treating pain (OR = 3.84, p = .002), and level of confidence in recommending online resources (OR = 1.05, p < 0.01), influenced recommending online resources. The majority of the healthcare providers (65%, 138/213) were concerned about the safety issues related to the risk of patients misinterpreting online information and lack of evidence-based information.
Conclusions: Only half of the healthcare providers surveyed reported recommending online resources, which suggests limited confidence in recommending existing online resources for persistent pain management. Ongoing training and education for healthcare providers on evidence-based online resources is required to provide integrated care pathways for people with persistent pain.