Technology to Treat Chronic Pain

The Colorado Medicaid’s Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC) pacific/hcpf/accountable-care-collaborative is launching a cutting-edge care model to use telehealth technology to help primary care medical providers treat chronic pain and reduce prescription painkiller abuse among Medicaid members.

The state model to use telehealth technology to treat chronic pain is based on the Project ECHO program developed by the University of New Mexico. Project ECHO is based on using hub and spoke knowledge sharing networks led by expert teams who use video conferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers.

Colorado’s Chronic Pain Disease Management Program will bring the expertise of pain management specialists into primary care settings by using video conferencing to help primary care medical providers.

More than 50 providers from 33 primary care clinic sites across the state including medical providers, behavioral health providers, and pharmacists are participating as part of an integrated care team.

Through video technology, the primary care medical providers will have access to a multi-disciplinary team of chronic pain specialists able to review cases submitted and able to recommend evidence-based interventions for treating the patients.

In addition to offering video conference clinical consultations between primary care doctors and pain management specialists, the program offers medical practices administrative strategies for working effectively with patients who have chronic pain. These strategies include scheduling appointments for ideal pain management, communicating with pharmacies, and using technology for monitoring prescriptions.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing is currently working with the University of Colorado to develop other similar programs that use the Project ECHO model to manage other diseases and conditions in the primary care setting.

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