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The Assessment of Preferences for Pain and Symptom Control Health States

Principal Investigator: Scott Cantor, Ph.D.

Many factors have been identified as barriers to optimal cancer pain treatment, including physicians’ poor pain assessment skills, inappropriate attitudes of patients and physicians about using opioids and other controlled substances for pain management and inadequate knowledge of the clinical pharmacology of analgesic drugs. Cost and reimbursement policies also have been identified as barriers to optimal pain management.

Specific Goals

  • The primary objective of this protocol is to assess and evaluate community and patient preferences for their (a) current health state and (b) potential health states that may occur as the result of cancer pain treatment (Complete)
  • A secondary objective is to compare two methods of utility assessment, the Standard Gamble and the Visual Analogue Scale, for the elicitation of patient preferences (Complete)
  • A third objective is to determine the perceptions and preferences of the general community toward cancer pain, utility assessment methods, and health states related to cancer pain management (Complete)
  • The fourth objective is to conduct a pilot study to determine the feasibility of using the utility assessment methods and health states selected to achieve objectives 1.1 and 1.2 (Complete)

Methods

Sub-Study – Community Preferences (Complete)

All components of this sub-study will consist of one data collection time point. The first part of this sub-study was to conduct an exploratory study by using focus group techniques with Harris County community members who represent the targeted ethnic groups. The next component of this sub-study consisted of two major activities. First, we conducted a pre-pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of using the utility assessment methods and health states included in the telephone survey. Then a larger random-digit dialing telephone survey was conducted through a collaborative effort between the Pain Research Group and an independent survey group. This part of the sub-study included 300 community households with telephones.

Sub-Study – Patient Preferences

To accomplish the objectives of this sub-study, a method is required to evaluate patient preferences for outcomes of pharmaceutical therapy for pain. There are two phases in the development of this method. The first phase will measure patient's preferences for their current health state relative to other health states. The second phase will measure patient's preferences for a series of potential health states that represent various outcomes of pain treatment. An entirely different sample of patients will be used for the second phase of the study.

For more information

Contact: Guadalupe Palos, Dr.P.H., at gpalos@mdanderson.org


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center