Evaluating a Prototype Clinical Decision Support Tool for Chronic Pain Treatment in Primary Care

Katie S. Allen, Elizabeth C. Danielson, Sarah M. Downs, Olena Mazurenko, Julie Diiulio, Ramzi G. Salloum, Burke W. Mamlin, Christopher A. Harle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives â The Chronic Pain Treatment Tracker (Tx Tracker) is a prototype decision support tool to aid primary care clinicians when caring for patients with chronic noncancer pain. This study evaluated clinicians' perceived utility of Tx Tracker in meeting information needs and identifying treatment options, and preferences for visual design. Methods â We conducted 12 semi-structured interviews with primary care clinicians from four health systems in Indiana. The interviews were conducted in two waves, with prototype and interview guide revisions after the first six interviews. The interviews included exploration of Tx Tracker using a think-Aloud approach and a clinical scenario. Clinicians were presented with a patient scenario and asked to use Tx Tracker to make a treatment recommendation. Last, participants answered several evaluation questions. Detailed field notes were collected, coded, and thematically analyzed by four analysts. Results â We identified several themes: The need for clinicians to be presented with a comprehensive patient history, the usefulness of Tx Tracker in patient discussions about treatment planning, potential usefulness of Tx Tracker for patients with high uncertainty or risk, potential usefulness of Tx Tracker in aggregating scattered information, variability in expectations about workflows, skepticism about underlying electronic health record data quality, interest in using Tx Tracker to annotate or update information, interest in using Tx Tracker to translate information to clinical action, desire for interface with visual cues for risks, warnings, or treatment options, and desire for interactive functionality. Conclusion â Tools like Tx Tracker, by aggregating key information about past, current, and potential future treatments, may help clinicians collaborate with their patients in choosing the best pain treatments. Still, the use and usefulness of Tx Tracker likely relies on continued improvement of its functionality, accurate and complete underlying data, and tailored integration with varying workflows, care team roles, and user preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-611
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2 2022


  • Chronic
  • Clinical decision support
  • Pain
  • Usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


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