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Posted on 08 Dec 2021
Quality/safety improvement

Measuring and sharing outcomes through the VAHI-funded electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration (ePPOC) is helping to inform best practice in pain management, support Australasian benchmarking and improve care for patients attending Victorian health services.

Persistent pain is a debilitating condition for one in five Australians, costing over $139 billion in lost quality of life and productivity1. ePPOC collects a standard set of data items and assessment tools to measure outcomes of pain management treatment, including patient reported outcome measures. This allows measurement of the care and treatment patients receive at specialist pain management services against nine established clinical benchmarks.

ePPOC also works to ensure the data collected can be used by health services to inform best practice treatment and to share information with patients that is based on outcomes. ePPOC’s recent Australasian benchmarking workshop enabled clinicians involved in pain management to share and understand the data and to prioritise areas for improvement.

One key area of discussion was around the relationship between pain reduction and opioid use, which has become particularly relevant as government policies have restricted the prescription of opioid medications for people with chronic non- cancer pain.

To explore the impact of changes in opioid use on outcomes for patients, ePPOC analysed data from 67 pain services. As reported in the Medical Journal of Australia in May 2021, the study found “significant clinical improvements are possible for people with chronic noncancer pain attending multidisciplinary pain management services in Australia and New Zealand, even as they discontinue opioid medications[1].

ePPOC also collects data which provides a ‘whole of life’ view of patient outcomes including psychosocial factors, supporting patients to better manage the stress and anxiety of living with chronic pain.

VAHI supports the expansion of the ePPOC initiative and encourages relevant services to participate. Health services that participate in ePPOC benefit from access to real time aggregated case information to enable informed best practice treatment. 

If you would like more information about becoming involved in the ePPOC, please contact the ePPOC Acting Director Janelle White at the Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong - janellew@uow.edu.au. Additionally, you can visit their website https://www.uow.edu.au/ahsri/eppoc/

Page last updated: 08 Dec 2021