Project Summary

PCORI implementation projects promote the use of findings from PCORI-funded studies. This project focuses on implementing findings from  the completed PCORI-funded research project: Using Surveys to Assess Patient-Centered Factors that May Affect Responses to Chronic Pain Treatment.

This project is in progress.

What were the results from the original PCORI-funded research study?

In their original study, the research team created a set of surveys called Healing Encounters and Attitudes Lists (HEAL) to help researchers understand patients’ beliefs and expectations about treatment. HEAL measures patients’ connections with their doctors and nurses, expectations about treatment, outlook on life, and other feelings. The team found that patients with chronic pain who had higher HEAL scores reported greater symptom improvement after two and four months of treatment than patients with lower HEAL scores. The researchers used HEAL together with another survey, called PROMIS®, to learn about how pain affects patients’ lives.

Why is this research finding important?

Patients’ beliefs and expectations may affect how they respond to treatment. HEAL offers doctors and patients a way to understand these beliefs and expectations, so they can talk about them and choose treatments that work well for each patient.

What is the goal of this project?

The project team is working to make HEAL and PROMIS surveys part of regular care at pain clinics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

What is the project team doing?

To make HEAL part of pain clinic care, the team is

  • Talking to pain clinic staff and patients to understand how they can use HEAL in planning treatment
  • Making HEAL part of an online form that patients fill out at the clinics
  • Training clinic staff on how to use HEAL as part of patient care

How will the team evaluate this project?

To see how staff and patients use HEAL, the project team is observing patient visits at the pain clinics. The team is also following up to see

  • How often patients fill out the online HEAL form and discuss the results with clinic staff
  • Whether patients and clinic staff think HEAL can be used throughout the treatment process
  • Whether using HEAL changes patients’ outcomes following pain treatment, such as number of emergency room visits and prescriptions for pain medicine

How is the team involving patients and others in making sure the findings reach people who can use them?

Patients, student researchers, and doctors who do research are helping evaluate HEAL and share the results of this work.

Learn more about PCORI’s Dissemination and Implementation program here.

Related PCORI-funded Research Project

Using Surveys to Assess Patient-Centered Factors that May Affect Responses to Chronic Pain Treatment

Note: Results from the original project have completed PCORI’s Peer Review and are available here.

Project Information

Carol Greco, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Key Dates

April 2022

Study Registration Information


Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
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Last updated: November 10, 2022