National survey of pain clinics in Croatia: Organization and services
Objective. To analyze organization and therapeutic procedures ad- ministered in tertiary outpatient pain clinics in Croatia. Methods. Data about organization of pain clinics, its personnel, equipment, continuing medical education, therapeutic procedures, research activities and relations with pharmaceutical industry were collected using questionnaires. Results. Twenty-two Croatian pain clinics were included in the study. Most of the pain clinics employ exclusively anesthesiologists and nurses. The most frequently prescribed therapeutic procedures in pain clinics were pharmacotherapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, acupuncture and trigger point injections. Almost all pain clinics provide educational material for patients. Most of the pain clinics have regular interactions with pharmaceutical companies. Prescribing decisions were based mostly on information from scientific meetings, research articles and consultations with colleagues. In- formation sources which are considered to be the gold standard – the systematic reviews of The Cochrane Collaboration – were used less frequently (n=12; 57%) than advertising materials from pharmaceutical companies (n=16; 76%). Few physicians and other pain clinics staff had scientific degrees or academic titles or were involved in a research project. Conclusion. The national study about pain clinics in Croatia pointed out that there is room for improvement of their organization and services. Pain clinics should employ health-care professionals with diverse backgrounds. They should offer treatments backed by the highest-level of scientific evidence. Since pain is a major public health issue, pain clinic staff should engage more in research to contribute to the growing field of pain research, to enhance capacities for pain research in Croatia, to incorporate scientific evidence into their daily decision-making and to enable evidence-based practice.
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