James C. Eisenach, M.D., Editor
Worldwide Congress on Pain
Institution: Dannemiller Memorial Educational Foundation
Information Manager: Ed Dyer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Webmaster: Jeff Milligan, Ed Dyer
The Worldwide Congress on Pain is devoted to providing the interested professional and consumer with current information on pain and pain management. Since it went online January 31, 1997 it has been identified as the premier web site devoted to pain on the Internet.
The bulk of information useful to the pain professional is located in "The Library" and "Online CME/CE" areas. The Library contains over 1700 journal articles, case studies, and abstracts from professional medical publications. The newest article is linked on the "Whats New" area of the Home Page for that day. Online Continuing Medical Education (CME) for physicians and Continuing Education (CE) for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and Registered Nurses is organized into monthly sets of 3 modules, each containing ten abstracted articles and a Post Test. The articles and Post Tests are viewable without charge, but in order to obtain Category 1 CME/CE credit the cost is $10.00 per hour, payable online. Examples of other Dannemiller CME/CE products can be viewed and purchased online. "Forums & Chatrooms" contains a professional forum where providers can share information with their peers. Additional resources include links to other pain related web sites, pain meetings, and an online bookstore. The Pain.Com Bookstore is actually a portal to the online bookstore amazon.com. Unfortunately, it only had references to consumer oriented books although a specific textbook could be searched by title or author. For instance, entering "Pain Raj" revealed three of his texts.
The majority of resources for patients are linked to the "Consumer Information" page. Practicing pain management physicians answer patient questions at "Ask The Pain Doctor." "Celebrities in Pain" has interviews with favorite stars and their encounters with pain. At "Straight From The Top" a chronic pain sufferer shares some of her survival secrets in this weekly column. "Pain Specialist or Pain Clinic" provides a means to search for specific clinics near the consumers home. "Support Groups & Stories" provides links to web sites that provide support and may be uplifting. "Ask the Expert" is an extension of "Ask the Pain Doctor" and provides links to other expert health professional specialists. Links are provided to Pain Associations, Health Resources and the Virtual Pain Library. Another resource is "Pain News" which provides a usually patient specific news article every day from various sources. "Forums & Chatrooms" is a great place for the chronic pain patient to discuss problems, give advice and relay experiences.
Quality of Information
The quality of the Library and CME articles is outstanding and the information relevant, although these areas are completely text based without graphs, charts or tables. The information found at other areas is accurate and up to date. Navigating the web site for physician specific information can be difficult. There is no single page where all professional resources are organized and finding these resources takes some effort. It is also somewhat laborious deciphering what is free information and what is charged for or is an advertisement. As an example, the "Pain Meetings" on the home page only links to Dannemiller sponsored meetings. One has to view the "CME/CE Programs" page to find a list of other meetings organized by year. The majority of this same page contains a list of CME Products for sale with a few examples that could easily be mistaken for more articles. Although frustrating at first, as one becomes more familiar with the web site these shortcomings become less significant. They are no doubt due to the rapid expanse of the site. The editors are very open to criticism and answered my questions via e-mail in under an hour!
Quality of Links
All links within the web site are functional and applicable to the specialty of pain management. Links to external web sites are located in the "Pain Resources" area where one can obtain pain related listings and links to both domestic and international societies, associations, foundations, organizations and publications. The publications listing contained hundreds of entries but few had web site links or contact information. Also included are links to news and health resources that are not pain related but possibly helpful.
Although no global searching capabilities are available, navigation of the web site is made possible by various other means. The "Site Map" page provides access to main and subsections and is the easiest way to navigate for the new visitor. "The Library" which contains the majority of pain articles is the only area with direct search capability and allows search by author, article title or keyword. The keyword search is via pop up menu that contains all general categories but does not allow for searching through the text of the articles. There are no search capabilities for the online CME/CE articles and it is not clear that these articles are included in "The Library." As this site continues to grow, better search capabilities will become a necessity.
The late Dr. Dannemiller had a vision of not attempting to provide all anesthesia knowledge, but to motivate others to recognize what they did not know and needed to learn. This philosophy lives on through his educational society and now through the Worldwide Congress on Pain web site. It is an educational and informative resource for both the professional pain manager as well as their patients. Easy access to succinct reviews of the latest literature on pain management will no doubt improve the quality of care provided by physicians. The resources for pain patients provide expert advice and information along with a place to discuss feelings and personal experiences. A patient with chronic pain who wants answers will be well served by reviewing the information at this web site. The interaction itself may even prove therapeutic. The Worldwide Congress on Pain is well on it's way to providing the most comprehensive resource for pain information on the Internet. It is no doubt worthy of its easily remembered URL, www.pain.com.
Jeffrey M. Cusick, M.D.
Chief of Anesthesiology
374th Medical Group
Yokota Air Base, Japan
APO, AP 96326
Anesthesiology, V89, No 5, p 1304-05, Nov 1998
This page was last modified on August 16, 2004