Feasibility trial of an ehealth intervention for health-related quality of life: Implications for managing patients with chronic pain during the covid-19 pandemic

John C. Licciardone, Vishruti Pandya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was conducted to determine the feasibility of providing an eHealth intervention for health-related quality of life (HRQOL) to facilitate patient self-management. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted from 2019–2020 within the Pain Registry for Epidemiological, Clinical, and Interventional Studies and Innovation. Eligible patients included those with chronic low back pain and a SPADE (sleep disturbance, pain interference with activities, anxiety, depression, and low energy/fatigue) cluster score ≥ 55 based on the relevant scales from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System instrument with 29 items (PROMIS-29). Patients were randomized to the eHealth treatment group, which received a tailored HRQOL report and interpretation guide, or to a wait-list control group. The primary outcome was change in the SPADE cluster score, including its five component scales, over 3 months. Secondary outcomes were changes in low back pain intensity and back-related disability. Treatment effects were measured using the standardized mean difference (SMD) in change scores between groups. The eHealth intervention was also assessed by a survey of the experimental treatment group 1 month following randomization. Results: A total of 102 patients were randomized, including 52 in the eHealth treatment group and 50 in the wait-list control group, and 100 (98%) completed the trial. A majority of patients agreed that the HRQOL report was easy to understand (86%), provided new information (79%), and took actions to read or learn more about self-management approaches to improve their HRQOL (77%). Although the eHealth intervention met the criteria for a small treatment effect in improving the overall SPADE cluster score (SMD = 0.24; p= 0.23) and anxiety (SMD = 0.24; p = 0.23), and for a small-to-medium treatment effect in improving depression (SMD = 0.37; p = 0.06) and back-related disability (SMD = 0.36; p = 0.07), none of these results achieved statistical significance because of limited sample size. Conclusion: Given the feasibility of rapid online deployment, low cost, and low risk of adverse events, this eHealth intervention for HRQOL may be useful for patients with chronic pain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number381
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Back-related disability
  • COVID-19
  • Chronic low back pain
  • EHealth
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Low back pain intensity
  • Randomized controlled trial


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