Audit in pain clinics: Changing the management of low-back and nerve-damage pain

H. T.O. Davies*, I. K. Crombie, W. A. Macrae, K. M. Rogers, J. E. Charlton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This audit study took place in ten outpatient pain clinics and focused on the management of low back pain and nerve-damage pain. The objective was to identify and promote appropriate changes in management. An analysis of the treatment of 1236 patients with low back pain and/or nerve-damage pain highlighted wide variations in practice. Presentation of these data to the clinics was used as a means of promoting change. Data on a further 1791 patients were used to assess the extent of any changes in practice. Prior to the audit feedback, treatments were used often in some clinics, but only rarely in other clinics, for seemingly similar patients. During the feedback sessions three treatments were identified for more frequent use by several of the clinics: antidepressant and anticonvulsant dugs, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Many changes in practice occurred after the audit intervention, with large increases in the utilisation of these three treatments. Since there is reasonable evidence to support the use of these treatments for chronic pain this represents an improvement in the process of care. The audit demonstrated that patient management can be improved by a combination of active feedback and discussions based around comparisons between centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-646
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 1996


  • Anaesthesia; audits
  • Pain; chronic


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