Objective: To investigate whether physician–patient agreement of potential patient problem areas impacts subsequent patient enrollment in an interdisciplinary pain management program. Design: Retrospective chart review of 544 patients who underwent evaluation of their chronic pain. Physicians and their patients endorsed perceived patient problems during the evaluation. The potential problems included 7 clinical domains: pain, sleep, mood, physical functioning, ability to cope with pain, ability to manage pain flare-ups, and pain medication effectiveness. Results: Results indicated statistically significant levels of agreement among the physicians and their patients (free-marginal kappa range, 0.19 to 0.94, P's < 0.001). The highest agreement occurred for pain and the lowest for pain medication effectiveness. Patients who enrolled in a recommended program did not differ from those who did not enroll based on either levels of agreement or average number of physician–patient agreements for the 7 clinical domains (P's > 0.05). Patients recommended for higher-intensity programs were perceived by their evaluating physician to have a significantly greater number of problematic clinical domains than those recommended for less intense pain programs. Conclusion: The level of physician–patient agreement regarding the patients’ current difficulties did not appear to influence patients’ decisions to participate in interdisciplinary pain management. Extraneous, nonclinical factors may have had a greater impact on participation in interdisciplinary pain management than physician–patient agreement. Future research should focus on identifying these factors and their impact. Also, studying the impact of physician–patient agreement beyond enrollment status (eg, on successful program completion) may be helpful in potentially enhancing patient outcomes.
- chronic pain