Researchers from St Michael's Hospital in Toronto conducted a 2 year follow-up study on the effects of a 10-week, 2 hours per week, Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management course on chronic pain. The 99 chronic pain patients received the course either via traditional face-to-face, in-person teaching (Present site group) or via videoconferencing from their local hospital site (Distant site group) for those in rural areas, far from direct access to care. Wait list patients served as controls.

Pre- and postcourse measures of quality of life, pain catastrophizing and usual pain ratings were collected over a period of two years. Patients at Present and Distant sites achieved similar gains in mental health (P < 0.01) and pain catastrophizing levels (P < 0.01) relative to controls. However, the Present site group obtained significantly higher scores on the physical dimension of quality of life (P < 0.01) and lower usual-pain ratings (P < 0.05) than the Distant site group.

The results suggest that videoconferencing is an effective mode of delivery for the Mindfulness course and may represent a new way of helping chronic pain patients in rural areas manage their suffering, but it is not as effective as in-person teaching.
Citation:Gardner-Nix J, Backman S, Barbati J, Grummitt J. Evaluating distance education of a mindfulness-based meditation programme for chronic pain management. Journal of Telemedicine & Telecare. 2008;14(2):88-92. [email protected]