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'Telecare' May Improve Pain Management

An automated program to monitor symptoms may improve pain treatment more than typical care, a study suggests. The study included 250 people who had long-term muscle or joint pain. They were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group was asked to report symptoms and answer other questions at regular intervals. This was the "telecare" group. People filed their reports using an automated telephone or Internet system. Based on this information, a nurse called from time to time with adjustments to the treatment plan. Doctors changed prescriptions and doses according to a set of rules based on research. The other group received usual care from their primary care doctors. After a year, more than half of the telecare group and one-quarter of the usual-care group reported at least a 30% improvement in pain levels.

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