Survey Published in Pain Physician

Published: February 13th, 2018

Category: News

Conducted under the leadership of our pain medicine division, the multi-institutional survey “Do Pain Medicine Fellowship Programs Provide Education in Practice Management? A Survey of Pain Medicine Fellowship Programs” was published in the January/February issue of Pain Physician.

Congratulations to our colleagues Rene Przkora, MD, PhD, Ajay Antony, MD, and Andrew McNeil, DO, on your publication. Read the abstract below or click here to read the full publication.

BACKGROUND: We hypothesized that there is a gap between expectations and actual training in practice management for pain medicine fellows. Our impression is that many fellowships rely on residency training to provide exposure to business education. Unfortunately, pain management and anesthesiology business education are very different, as the practice settings are largely office- versus hospital-based, respectively.


OBJECTIVE: Because it is unclear whether pain management fellowships are providing practice management education and, if they do, whether the topics covered match the expectations of their fellows, we surveyed pain medicine program directors and fellows regarding their expectations and training in business management.




SETTING: Academic pain medicine fellowship programs.


METHODS: After an exemption was obtained from the University of Texas Medical Branch Institutional Review Board (#13-030), an email survey was sent to members of the Association of Pain Program Directors to be forwarded to their fellows. Directors were contacted 3 times to maximize the response rate. The anonymous survey for fellows contained 21 questions (questions are shown in the results).


RESULTS: Fifty-nine of 84 program directors responded and forwarded the survey to their fellows. Sixty fellows responded, with 56 answering the survey questions.


LIMITATIONS: The responder rate is a limitation, although similar rates have been reported in similar studies.


CONCLUSIONS: The majority of pain medicine fellows receive some practice management training, mainly on billing documentation and preauthorization processes, while most do not receive business education (e.g., human resources, contracts, accounting/financial reports). More than 70% of fellows reported that they receive more business education from industry than from their fellowships, a result that may raise concerns about the independence of our future physicians from the industry. Our findings support the need for enhanced and structured business education during pain fellowship.