Comparative effectiveness of embedded mental health services in pain management clinics vs standard care

Andrea Gillman, Di Zhang, Susan Jarquin, Jordan F. Karp, Jong Hyeon Jeong, Ajay D. Wasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective. Embedded behavioral medicine services are a common component of multidisciplinary chronic pain treatment programs. However, few studies have studied whether these services are associated with improved treatment outcomes. Methods. Using a retrospective, matched, two-cohort study design, we examined patient-reported outcomes (PROs), including Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System pain, mental health, and physical function measures, collected at every clinic visit in every patient. Changes from baseline through 12 months were compared in those receiving embedded Behavioral Medicine in addition to usual care to a Standard Care group seen in the same pain practice and weighted via propensity scoring. Results. At baseline, Behavioral Medicine patients had worse scores on most pain, mental health, and physical health measures and were more likely to be female, a member of a racial minority, and have lower socioeconomic status. Regardless of having a worse clinical pain syndrome at baseline, at follow-up both Behavioral Medicine (N 451) and Standard Care patients (N 8,383) showed significant and comparable improvements in pain intensity, physical function, depression, and sleep disturbance. Behavioral Medicine patients showed significantly greater improvements in their global impressions of change than the Standard Care patients. Conclusions. Despite worse pain and physical and psychological functioning at baseline, Behavioral Medicine patients showed improvements comparable to patients not receiving these services. Further, Behavioral Medicine patients report higher global impressions of change, indicating that embedded mental health services appear to have the additive value of amplifying the benefits of multimodal pain care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-991
Number of pages14
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic Pain
  • Embedded Behavioral Medicine
  • Impression of Change
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes
  • Propensity Scoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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