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Virtual Doctor Pain Description Blueprint for Patient Engagement Introduction

Virtual Doctor Pain Description Blueprint is a patient-engagement pain-assessment-and-documentation tool which enables patients to accurately describe pain in a way that is meaningful to physicians, based on questions that a skilled doctor should ask. It is designed to promote quality improvement in health care and lowering of healthcare costs of medical services for evaluation of conditions associated with pain. It is a collection of seven digital forms for capturing important details of pain in the seven most common areas of the body in which pain occurs. Those body areas are the chest, abdomen (belly), head, neck, back, joints and limbs (extremities). Therefore the digital forms are for chest pain, abdominal pain, neck pain, headache, back pain, joint pain, and limb pain. 

As a patient-pain-documentation tool it systematically guides patients through the most pertinent questions regarding pain in various parts of the body and captures data based on answers via a convenient combination of checkboxes, text fields and drop boxes. Although the forms were designed for use on a computer, they can be printed out and the information can be entered manually. 

As a pain-assessment tool the questions are organized and structured according to the PQRST mnemonic format commonly used by doctors and nurses to diagnose the cause of pain. The P column of the form pertains to the factors which provoke or palliate (relieve) the pain. The Q column is where the quality of the pain is described with adjectives and associated symptoms are listed. The R column is where information regarding the region of the body and where the pain radiates is captured. The S column is where the pain is rated in severity on a scale of 1+ – 10+ when it is least and when it is most. The T column is for recording information about the pain in relationship to time, such as when it started, how long it lasts, and how frequently it occurs.

Virtual Doctor Pain Description Blueprint can increase the quality and accuracy of information patients provide doctors with regarding pain, by eliminating the frustration and embarrassment they oftentimes experience when questions which they have never thought about are hastily and unexpectedly presented. Access to those questions well prior to a doctor encounter, allows more than ample time to formulate answers and obviously, results in more accurate and reliable information than what would be obtained during a 15 minute office visit in many instances.  

Limited or absent computer skills and varying degrees of cognitive impairment are acknowledged obstacles to direct use of Virtual Doctor Pain Description Blueprint by some individuals. A loved one or caregiver however, can ask the questions and enter the answers on the forms, thus serving as a virtual doctor, prior to an actual doctor visit. Moreover, many elderly individuals with and without varying degrees of dementia, are more likely to answer questions correctly if they are asked repeatedly over several days, by someone they know, in a familiar setting. 

The digitally or manually-completed Virtual-Doctor-Pain-Description-Blueprint form(s) can be brought into a doctor’s office at the time of a visit or the patient can come without it if well prepared to answer the questions from memory. At any rate, the pertinent, reliable and accurate information accompanying pain should increase the likelihood of a more timely and accurate diagnosis without overreliance on technology; however, some diagnostic testing might still be necessary.  The net result of increased patient preparedness for doctor visits should be more productive visits in which there is an increase in the quality of healthcare and lowering of healthcare costs. 

Additionally, Virtual Doctor Pain Description Blueprint can be used by doctors’ offices to capture information pertaining to patients' pain prior to actual office visits, telephonically or over the Internet, by means of an electronic health record and patient portal, which also would be of value to physicians in meeting the patient-engagement electronic-health-record meaningful-use requirement mandated by Medicare and Medicaid. 

In addition to promoting patient engagement centered on pain evaluation, use of Virtual Doctor Pain Description Blueprint, in conjunction with Proactive Patient Empowerment Medical Glossary, can increase one's health literacy, so as to promote patient engagement in other areas of health management, thus leading to better overall health and treatment outcomes. 

This resource is not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation, and its use does not constitute the establishment of a doctor patient relationship with its developer.  If you have unexplained pain you should not self-diagnose, but should see a licensed physician.



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