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Piloting IVR (Interactive Voice Response) for Chronic Pain Treatment

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: March 31, 2008
Last updated: April 6, 2015
Last verified: June 2014
This study is designed to develop and test the use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to deliver pain management treatment. IVR allows individuals to receive and provide information by using their touchtone telephone. This will allow more people with chronic pain to receive treatment even if they are not able to drive to an appointment regularly. In the first part of the study, the investigators will develop new materials like patient handbooks and pre-recorded explanations about common pain control techniques. In the second part of the study, a small number of persons with chronic pain will receive treatment using the new materials. We will ask for their feedback about how well they liked using the new materials and if the materials are understandable. This will allow us to revise the materials if we need to prior to studying them with a larger group of people with chronic pain.

Condition Intervention
Chronic Pain Behavioral: IVR-based Cognitive-behavior therapy

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Official Title: Piloting Interactive Voice Response Modules for Chronic Pain Treatment

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Comprehension [ Time Frame: Immediately after review of materials (phase 1); 1 week post review of materials (phase 2) ]
    Each treatment session had 5 True / False questions that corresponded with the material in the patient handbook. Phase 1 participants reviewed individual treatment modules in the patient handbook to provide immediate feedback regarding how understandable, engaging, and informative they find the materials. Phase 2 participants' used the patient materials as part of treatment and the true/false questions were used to evaluate comprehension of the materials. Example questions: Chronic pain can affect how you feel physically and emotionally (T); Relaxation is the same as being lazy and unproductive (F).

Enrollment: 27
Study Start Date: December 2008
Study Completion Date: April 2009
Primary Completion Date: March 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: Phase 1
Review the materials and provide feedback regarding how understandable, engaging, and informative the materials are
Experimental: Phase 2
Piloting the 'IVR-based Cognitive-behavior therapy' using the new materials
Behavioral: IVR-based Cognitive-behavior therapy
Standard cognitive-behavior therapy for chronic pain management using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) compatible materials and handouts

Detailed Description:


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown in two meta-analyses to be effective in reducing pain intensity, disability, and affective distress in persons with chronic pain. Although effective, traditional CBT is time-intensive and requires patients to make frequent office visits. An alternative is to improve treatment accessibility and efficiency of treatment provision through the use of electronic methods such as interactive voice response (IVR) technology.


This pilot project was designed to test the feasibility and perceived value of IVR-based CBT intervention materials for the treatment of chronic pain. The project involved adapting traditional CBT materials for use in a IVR-based chronic pain treatment.


The project occurred in two phases. Phase 1 included the revision of materials to support the IVR-based intervention including 1) a patient handbook, 2) a library of IVR-compatible scripts for the presentation of pain treatment topics, and 3) guidelines for providing personalized feedback. Phase 2 included the evaluation of the developed materials by a small group of patients with chronic pain. After the treatment materials were revised, their usability, feasibility and perceived value were tested with a small sample of Veterans with chronic pain.


This study is complete.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Pain for at least 6 months;
  • Average pain level of >3 on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst imaginable);
  • Access to touchtone phone

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Current alcohol or substance abuse;
  • Current psychosis;
  • Current suicidal ideation;
  • Current life threatening or acute physical illness
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00651924

United States, Connecticut
VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven Campus, West Haven, CT
West Haven, Connecticut, United States, 06516
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Robert D. Kerns, PhD VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven Campus, West Haven, CT
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT00651924     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: SHP 08-147
Study First Received: March 31, 2008
Results First Received: September 17, 2014
Last Updated: April 6, 2015

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
chronic pain
cognitive-behavior therapy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Chronic Pain
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on September 20, 2017