KnowPain-50: A tool for assessing physician pain management education

John M. Harris, John V. Fulginiti, Paul R. Gordon, Thomas E. Elliott, Bennet E. Davis, Charles Chabal, Randa M. Kutob

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background. Despite a need for better physician pain management education, there are no widely accepted assessment or outcome measures to support this work. Objective. Create a self-assessment tool to measure physician educational needs and the effectiveness of chronic pain educational programs. Design. We used expert consensus to draft a 142-item survey that covered essential areas of chronic pain management. We tested the survey in 106 physicians, including 22 pain management experts and used predefined psychometric criteria to eliminate 70 items. We then eliminated 22 remaining items that did not correlate with the management of a standardized chronic pain patient by 27 academic physicians. We evaluated internal consistency using Cronbach's alpha. Results. The final 50-item survey assessed physician knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs in: 1) initial pain assessment; 2) defining goals and expectations; 3) development of a treatment plan; 4) implementation of a treatment plan; 5) reassessment and management of longitudinal care; and 6) management of environmental issues. The survey demonstrated good internal consistency in all physician populations studied (α = 0.77 - 0.85). Average scores in 84 "pilot" physician users of a CME Website (135.8 - 138.5) were significantly lower (P < 0.01) than scores in 27 academic physicians (150.0), or 22 pain experts (177.5). Conclusions. This survey, the KnowPain-50, has good psychometric properties, correlates with clinical behaviors, and appears to distinguish between physicians with different levels of pain management expertise. It may be a useful measure of the effectiveness of physician pain management education programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-554
Number of pages13
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuing
  • Education
  • Outcome assessment
  • Pain Training Programs


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