Jack Kues (University of Cincinnati); Amy Holthusen (IPMA); Mary Ales (IPMA)
We compared primary care physicians’ perceived competence and learning needs in three different chronic pain conditions: fibromyalgia, low back pain, and osteoarthritis. These conditions differ along a continuum of psychogenic versus biogenic etiology.
250 primary care physicians completed an online survey assessing their perceived current and desired competency and knowledge levels in three pain conditions. Respondents ranked the three conditions according to difficulty of diagnosis and treatment.
Perceptions of current and desired knowledge and competency among the three conditions were found to be statistically distinct. Respondents perceived lowest levels of knowledge and competency in fibromyalgia and highest in osteoarthritis (F(1,273)=19.325, p<.001). Correspondingly, fibromyalgia was ranked as the most difficult condition to diagnosis and treat, followed by low back pain and osteoarthritis respectively (Chi2(2, N=285)=153.75,p<.001). In general, low back pain and osteoarthritis were found to be more similar to each other and distinct from fibromyalgia.
Chronic conditions, while sharing many similarities, have distinct psychogenic and biogenic properties and are perceived differently by providers. Unique physician approaches to different conditions need to be considered in the development of effective education.
Research funded by an educational grant from Pfizer