Creation of a Multispecialty Clinic for Patients with Central Sensitization-Based Chronic Pain Conditions

Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2021 Dec 23;6(1):45-54.doi: 10.1016/j.mayocpiqo.2021.11.003. eCollection 2022 Feb.


Conor G Loftus 1Jon O Ebbert 2Christopher A Aakre 3Natalie A Caine 4 5Meredith A DeZutter 5Ryan J Eastman 4 5Stephen M Fischer 4 5Elizabeth A Gilman 3Matthew G Johnson 6Connie A Luedtke 7Arya B Mohabbat 3Karen J Reinschmidt 8Daniel L Roellinger 9William Sanchez 1Lindsey M Philpot 5


Author information

1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

2Department of Community Internal Medicine.

3Division of General Internal Medicine.

4Administrative Services.

5Department of Medicine.

6Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

7Department of Nursing.

8Strategy Department.

9Quantitative Health Sciences, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.


Objective: To design and evaluate, through a human-centered design approach, a multispeciality clinic for patients with central sensitization syndromes that combined virtual previsit consultations, traditional face-to-face appointments, and technology-enabled educational programming.

Patients and methods: Patients with suspected fibromyalgia and chronic abdominal pain were seen in a multispecialty practice, and the performance of the clinic was evaluated against a contemporary cohort. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation measures included team estimates of time spent on care-related tasks, physician rank of alignment of patient need with clinic design, major appointment changes, and nonvisit care tasks. Members of the care team also evaluated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the success of the clinic.

Results: The pilot clinic was operated from April 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, and included 34 patients with suspected fibromyalgia/chronic abdominal pain. During the pilot period, physicians ranked the value of the virtual previsit consultations in providing care as 7.5 on a scale of 0 to 10 and reported an average of 50 minutes in preparation for the appointment, execution of the appointment, and postvisit documentation. We did not observe substantial differences in the number of added appointments or messages received within the patient portal when compared with a comparison cohort. Patients who participated in the combination nurse educator-led and digital education program provided positive feedback about their experience.

Conclusion: Our clinic model provides a framework for the treatment of patients with debilitating centrally sensitized conditions and future expansion of virtual care delivery models to better meet patient care and educational needs.

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