Improving the quality of outcomes & services for people experiencing chronic pain

ePPOC is a program which aims to improve the quality of outcomes and services for people experiencing chronic pain. It is an initiative of the Faculty of Pain Medicine and was established in 2013 with funding from the NSW Ministry of Health.

ePPOC was initially piloted in a small number of services in New South Wales in 2013, and in 2014 all specialist adult pain management services were invited to participate. A separate database (known as PaedePPOC) was also established in 2014 to address the differing needs of the paediatric pain management sector.

Key functions

The key functions of ePPOC are to facilitate the collection of standardised data from pain management services, analyse and report these data, use the data for benchmarking, and promote research into areas of importance in pain management.

Standardised information

Standardised information about patients and their treatment is collected via patient-reported outcome measures at defined points in an episode of care. In paediatric services, information is also collected from the patient’s parents and/or carers. Information about the type and intensity of treatment is completed by the staff of the pain management service. To assist services to collect the patient information, ePPOC has developed specialised software called epiCentre (ePPOC Patient Information Centre). epiCentre provides a means of using the data at an individual patient level, and at the same time promoting the consistent collection, terminology, process and protocol among participating services.

Reports 

Reports are provided to each pain management service every six months. As the information collected is standardised across all pain services, meaningful comparisons to other participating pain services can be made. In this way, pain management units can compare their patient population, outcomes and service delivery to those seen in other services.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an important function of ePPOC as it:

  • enables comparison of performance between services;
  • identifies reasons for variation between services;
  • allows identification of practices and processes that result in superior outcomes; and
  • drives implementation of best-practice care to patients.

Yearly benchmarking workshops examine the benchmarking data, share information and learn from services who are achieving the best outcomes.

Research

Research is facilitated through the availability of the ePPOC database for studies into areas of interest in pain management.

Participating services

  • Central Coast Integrated Pain Service, Gosford Hospital
  • Coffs Harbour Chronic Pain Service
  • Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic
  • Greenwich Hospital Pain Management Service 
  • Hunter Integrated Pain Service, John Hunter Hospital
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven Chronic Pain Service
  • Innervate Pain Management
  • John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Children’s Complex Pain Service
  • Lismore Base Hospital, Pain Clinic
  • Liverpool Hospital Chronic Pain Services
  • Michael J Cousins Pain Management and Research Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Nepean Pain Unit
  • Orange Chronic Pain Clinic
  • Prince of Wales Hospital, Department of Pain Management
  • Royal Prince Alfred Pain Management Clinic
  • St George Hospital Pain Management Unit
  • St Vincent's Hospital Sydney Pain Clinic
  • Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick Interdisciplinary Complex Pain Service
  • Sydney Spine and Pain Rehab
  • Tamworth Integrated Pain Service (TIPS)
  • The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Complex Pain Clinic
  • Westmead Hospital Pain Management Centre
  • Gold Coast Health, Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre
  • Metro South Health Persistent Pain Management Service, Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • North Queensland Persistent Pain Management Service, Townsville Hospital
  • Queensland Interdisciplinary Paediatric Persistent Pain Service
  • Reforge Veteran Care
  • St Vincent's Private Hospital Brisbane
  • State-Wide Persistent Pain Management Clinical Network - QLD: Gold Coast Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre (Paediatric)
  • State-Wide Persistent Pain Management Clinical Network - QLD: North Queensland Persistent Pain Management Service (Paediatric)
  • State-Wide Persistent Pain Management Clinical Network - QLD: Tess Cramond Pain & Research Centre (Paediatric)
  • Sunshine Coast Persistent Pain Management Service 
  • Sunshine Coast Persistent Pain Management Service (Paediatric)
  • Tess Cramond Pain and Research Centre
  • Wesley Pain and Spine Centre
  • Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Flinders Pain Management Unit
  • Northern Adelaide Pain Rehabilitation Service, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Modbury Hospital
  • Women's and Children's Paediatric Chronic Pain Service
  •  Royal Hobart Hospital, Persistent Pain Service
  • Advance Healthcare
  • Austin Pain Service, Austin Health
  • Bairnsdale Regional Health Service
  • Ballarat Health Services Persistent Pain Management Services
  • Barbara Walker Centre for Pain Management, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
  • Bendigo Health, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, Pain Rehabilitation Clinic
  • Caulfield Pain Management and Research Centre, Alfred Health
  • Dorset Rehabilitation Centre
  • Eastern Health Ambulatory Pain Management Service
  • Empower Rehab
  • Epworth Hospital, Epworth Healthcare
  • Goulburn Valley Health Chronic Pain Clinic
  • Latrobe Regional Hospital
  • Melbourne Health
  • Monash Children’s Hospital Pain Service
  • Monash Health
  • Northern Health Service
  • Peninsula Health Integrated Pain Service, Persistent Pain Management Service
  • Precision Ascend
  • Royal Children's Hospital Children's Pain Management Clinic, Melbourne
  • Royal Women's Hospital
  • South West Healthcare Chronic Pain Clinic
  • Victorian Rehabilitation Centre
  • Western Health Pain Management
  • Fiona Stanley Hospital Pain Management Unit
  • Pelvic Pain Clinic, King Edward Memorial Hospital
  • Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
  • Adelaide Primary Health Network, SA:
    - Living Well with Persistent Pain Centre North
    - Living Well with Persistent Pain Centre West
  • Marathon Health
  • Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, NSW:
    - Nepean Blue Mountains PHN Community Chronic Pain Management Program
  • North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network, VIC:
    - Cohealth
    - Merri Health
  • South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, NSW:
    - COORDINARE Chronic Pain Management Program
  • WA Primary Health Alliance, WA:
    - 360 Health + Community
    - Arche Health Chronic Pain Service
    - Black Swan Health Limited Midland
    - Black Swan Health Limited Wanneroo
  • Active+
  • Advantage South
  • APM NZ
  • Australis Specialist Pain Clinic (Australis Medical Ltd)
  • Body in Motion
  • Canterbury DHB, Burwood Hospital Pain Management Centre
  • Capital and Coast DHB, Wellington Hospital
  • Futureproof Rehab
  • Habit Rehabilitation
  • Hutt Valley District Health Board
  • Integrative Pain Care
  • Nelson Nursing Service
  • Occupational Health Canterbury
  • Pain Management & Rehabilitation Services
  • Pain Management Southern Physiotherapy Limited
  • Pain Rehabilitation Christchurch
  • Persistent Pain Service South Canterbury District Health Board
  • Proactive Rehab
  • Proactive Southern Limited
  • QE Health Limited
  • Southern DHB Persistent Pain Service, Dunedin Hospital
  • Southern Rehab
  • Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy Limited
  • Starship Complex Pain Service
  • Taranaki DHB Persistent Pain Service
  • TBI Health Group
  • The Auckland Regional Pain Service DHB (TARPS), Auckland Regional Hospital
  • Waikato DHB

ePPOC Governance

ePPOC is managed by the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales. AHSRI has also established and manages outcome centres in the related fields of rehabilitation (Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre; AROC) and palliative care (Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration; PCOC).

ePPOC receives advice from a Clinical and Management Advisory Committee (CMAC) whose members include clinicians, key stakeholders, consumers and representatives of major financial contributors. The CMAC provides assistance in matters relating to data, reporting, research and management of ePPOC.

Download the CMAC Terms of Reference (pdf)

Our team

David joined the team in May 2022, after an extensive career in both the public and private sector, most recently as Director of Quality and Safety for  a national community nursing and aged care organisation. He has held a varied range of operational management and clinical governance roles covering both face-to-face and telehealth delivery models

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Hilarie is a Senior Research Fellow at ePPOC where her responsibilities are primarily research and special projects. Prior to joining AHSRI, Hilarie worked in a variety of not-for-profit and government roles that focused on using administrative datasets in research, data linkage and outcome measurement. Hilarie has qualifications in psychology, biochemistry and a PhD in psychophysiology.

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Meredith works as the ePPOC Improvement Facilitator for NSW. Meredith is a Registered Nurse with extensive experience as a community health clinician and manager, and as an Improvement Facilitator. Meredith has post graduate qualifications in Health Service Management (Quality). 

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Kate Cameron is an Improvement Facilitator, working primarily with ePPOC’s New Zealand members. She engages with pain management services to support their implementation and understanding of ePPOC processes, and assisting them to identify opportunities for improved patient outcomes. She has previously worked in public health, specialising in psychiatric, acquired brain injury, and geriatric populations. Kate has post-graduate qualifications in Clinical Psychology, and is currently completing a Doctor of Clinical Neuropsychology.

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Michelle works as an ePPOC Improvement Facilitator. She has a background in nursing and started her career as a mental health nurse in 1982, for the next 20 years she worked in the acute admission sector. She is also a qualified ICU nurse and has held additional roles in substance misuse, and HIV/AIDS. More recently Michelle worked as the CNC in a large Pain Management Clinic in Sydney, whilst in this role she was introduced to ePPOC.

She recently completed a Master of Global Health at UNSW, sparking an interest in governance and quality improvement.  

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An experienced statistician and data scientist, for more than a decade Sam has applied his biostatistical, data management and data science skills to important topics such as patient outcome measurement, classification development, longitudinal data analysis, patient trajectory modelling and patient and carer surveys. Sam was a core member of the team responsible for development of version 7 of the AR-DRG classification, using SAS and R on large datasets to model national public and private hospital data and develop recommendations for funding changes to reflect innovations in models of care. His knowledge of data linkage, data management and systems was crucial in working with AHSRIs IT team during the establishment of the Illawarra Health Information Platform (IHIP) and AHSRI’s DataManager system.

Sam was statistician and data manager for the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) for over 10 years, where he developed data collections, managed the national longitudinal database, and working with IT providers across Australia to embed the data collection into clinical systems. He has developed an expert knowledge in the development of automated reporting processes and has been an enabler of the use of routinely collected clinician- and patient-reported outcome measures as change agents in health service development.

Sam now plays a key role with the electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration (ePPOC) leading the analytical work of the collaboration. Sam’s responsibilities include:

  • Enabling the research priorities of ePPOC as a leader and member of multidisciplinary research teams
  • Management of the adult and paediatric longitudinal patient outcomes databases
  • Reporting of patient outcomes to services via bespoke, individualised and automated reports
  • Partnering with researchers both internal and external to AHSRI and UOW, preparing datasets and co-authoring peer-reviewed publications.

View full list of Sam’s research (link opens in a new tab/window)

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Dinberu Shebeshi joined ePPOC as a Research Fellow (Applied Statistics) in May 2021. Recently, Dinberu worked as an associate Biostatistician at the Sax Institute, Sydney. He has a background in statistics, with a Bachelor and Master degrees. During his PhD study in Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at the University of Newcastle, he applied his statistical skills on topics related to the Australian health care system, in the context of population ageing and the increasing burden of chronic disease. He has a particular interest in survival analysis, spatial analysis and GLM models.

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Sarah is the Administration Officer of ePPOC, the electronic Persistent Pain Outcomes Collaboration. She liaises with, provides administrative support to, and works collaboratively with the ePPOC team and pain management services. Prior to joining AHSRI, Sarah has worked in administration, account management, foreign exchange and education. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and English Literatures.

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