Research & Program Areas

Increasing Access to Back Pain Psychoeducation

Approximately 116 million Americans experience chronic pain, with low back pain the most common pain diagnosis. The cost of treating back pain in the US is more than $100 billion per year, and back pain is the leading cause of disability.  Under the direction of CMCD affiliated investigator, Alicia Heapy, PhD, CMCD investigators participated in a comparative effectiveness trial comparing back pain psycho-education delivered primarily via automated (IVR) calls to the same therapy delivered by trained therapists.

Preliminary results suggest that the IVR therapy was more accessible to participants because they did not need to travel for face-to-face sessions; and IVR therapy resulted in outcomes that were at least as good (and possibly better).  This intervention has the potential to substantially increase patients’ access to cost-effective treatment without the use of potentially dangerous prescription analgesics.  CMCD currently is working to disseminate this approach in VA health systems through an implementation science project supported by VA’s Quality Enhancement Research Initiative.

Learn more about the CarePartner Program.

For more information, contact Anthony Rinaldi at


Chronic Pain, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Mobile Health

Return to Research and Program Areas