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Pain Research and Management
Volume 12, Issue 4, Pages 245-248
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2007/891951
Original Article

Waiting for Treatment for Chronic Pain – a Survey of Existing Benchmarks: Toward Establishing Evidence-Based Benchmarks for Medically Acceptable Waiting Times

Mary E Lynch,1 Fiona A Campbell,2 Alexander J Clark,3 Michael J Dunbar,4 David Goldstein,5 Philip Peng,6 Jennifer Stinson,7 Helen Tupper,8 and the Canadian Pain Society Wait Times Task Force

1Department of Psychiatry and Anesthesia Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
2Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3Department of Anesthesia, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
4Department of Surgery (Orthopedic Surgery), Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
5Department of Anesthesia, Queens University, Kingston, Canada
6Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
7Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
8Canadian Pain Coalition, Patient Representative, Canada

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

As medical costs escalate, health care resources must be prioritized. In this context, there is an increasing need for benchmarks and best practices in wait time management. In December 2005, the Canadian Pain Society struck a Task Force to identify benchmarks for acceptable wait times for treatment of chronic pain. The task force mandate included a systematic review and survey to identify national or international wait time benchmarks for chronic pain, proposed or in use, along with a review of the evidence upon which they are based. An extensive systematic review of the literature and a survey of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapter Presidents and key informants has identified that there are no established benchmarks or guidelines for acceptable wait times for the treatment of chronic pain in use in the world. In countries with generic guidelines or wait time standards that apply to all outpatient clinics, there have been significant challenges faced by pain clinics in meeting the established targets. Important next steps are to ensure appropriate additional research and the establishment of international benchmarks or guidelines for acceptable wait times for the treatment of chronic pain. This will facilitate advocacy for improved access to appropriate care for people suffering from chronic pain around the world.