Identifying patients at risk for loss to follow-up after pain center treatment

Robert B. Cutler, David A. Fishbain, Brandly Cole, Rene Steele-Rosomoff, Hubert L. Rosomoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective. This study was designed to identify, at admission to a pain treatment facility, characteristics of patients who will be lost to follow-up after treatment completion. Method. Patients were divided into 3 groups depending on how they responded to the 12-month follow-up. The analysis was a between-subjects design using prospective data collected at a comprehensive pain treatment facility. Low back pain patients (n = 168) received 4 weeks of multidisciplinary pain treatment. The main outcome measure was response/nonresponse to follow-up questionnaires. Results. showed that patients who were later lost to follow-up, or who were reluctant to answer follow-ups, could be predicted at treatment admission by measures of pain and functioning. The prediction equation was validated by a second group of patients, treatment noncompleters (n = 55). Conclusion. Chronic pain patients who are more likely to be lost to follow-up can be identified upon admission to a pain facility. Procedures that should decrease follow-up attrition could be implemented at program admission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Chronic pain
  • Follow-up attrition
  • Nonresponse bias
  • Pain center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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