In the process reviewing your Pain Service in time for the new-year? On the look-out for new best practice ideas? Consider aligning your data collection with ePPOC (electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration).
It’s been a big year for health system reform in Australia – and the importance of having access to aggregate treatment data for chronic pain has never been more apparent. The good news is that there have been some positive changes afoot in the tracking of pain management treatment in Australasia for some time now – and we can all be a part of it. Read on to find out more!
For those of you new to ePPOC, here’s a bit of background: first launched in 2013, ePPOC is essentially a service aimed at streamlining services and outcomes for chronic pain patients by way of benchmarking of care and treatment. An initiative of the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the University of Wollongong, ePPOC initially started as a trial involving eight specialised adult pain centres in NSW. It has since gained the support of the Australian Pain Society (APS) and the wider pain sector; being rolled-out at a number of leading pain centres right across Australia and New Zealand: from Perth to Auckland, Gippsland and beyond.
So how does the project work and what are its aims?
To take it directly from the horse’s mouth (aka: the ePPOC website); “ePPOC involves the collection of a standard set of data items and assessment tools by specialist pain services throughout Australia and New Zealand to measure outcomes for their patients as a result of treatment. This information will be used to develop a national benchmarking system for the pain sector, which will lead to better outcomes and best practice interventions for patients in chronic pain. The information will also enable development of a coordinated approach to research into the management of pain in Australasia”.
So what does it mean for me?
As we well know, giving patients tools for self-efficacy is very much at the heart of effective, sustainable chronic pain management. ePPOC organisers have designed the project in a bid to facilitate better understanding of best practice in pain management for pain practitioners in so that their pain patients can have a much better chance at effectively tackling their pain on an ongoing basis.
ePPOC researchers are keen to continue signing up more and more public and private pain clinics throughout Australia and New Zealand to participate in the program. The more data that is shared, the more accurate the picture that is painted of the current state of chronic pain in our region – which means that funding, research and treatment plans can better tap into the true needs of our pain patients.
The way we see it, it’s important for all services (participating in ePPOC, or not) to be mindful of this trend to streamline data collection. It means that any data collected by a service can then be added to the database later – or compared to the national averages.
Keen to know more?
The ePPOC web page has copies of the Intake and Follow Up Ax forms, which are handy references/templates for services. Similarly, if you’re already participating in the program, we’d love to hear from you too!