Non-pharmacological Options in Postoperative Hospital-Based and Rehabilitation Pain Management (NOHARM): Protocol for a Stepped-Wedge Cluster-Randomized Pragmatic Clinical Trial

Mayo Clinic NOHARM Research Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Opioids may be necessary for guideline-concordant acute perioperative pain management, but their use carries risks for unintended prolonged use and addiction. Guidelines recommend use of validated non-pharmacological pain care (NPPC) approaches in conjunction with prescribed opioids and other analgesics. Our protocol outlines a population-level, pragmatic trial that will test a bundled intervention comprised of an electronic health record (EHR) portal-based conversation guide, EHR clinical decision support (CDS), and a suite of self-management educational and support materials to encourage and advance NPPC use. Methods: We are conducting a stepped-wedge, cluster-randomized pragmatic trial spanning seven surgical specialties across six geographically diverse locations within the Mayo Clinic Enterprise. Thirty two surgical practices across six locations (Rochester, Minnesota; Mankato, Minnesota; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Phoenix, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida) comprise 22 distinct practice clusters that are randomly assigned to one of five steps using constrained randomization. Steps “go live” by initiating the intervention at 7-month intervals between March 2021 and July 2023. Patients over 18 years of age who are scheduled for qualifying procedures within “live” consenting practices are sent a Healing After Surgery guide via their patient portals pre-operatively, directing them to identify their preferred NPPC modalities among 13 approaches. These selections create CDS options for care teams to support patients with self-management materials that reinforce safe NPPC use. Planned Outcomes: Patients’ clinical, demographic, and outcome data will be abstracted from the Epic EHR. Primary outcomes will be the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) pain interference and physical functioning computer adaptive tests (CAT) collected at 1, 2, and 3 months postoperatively via the patient portal. We will mail printed versions of the 6-item PROMIS short forms to portal non-responders to minimize bias. Secondary outcomes will include the PROMIS anxiety CAT, opioid consumption, and self-reported NPPC use. Trial Registration: identifier, NCT04570371.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1053
Number of pages17
JournalPain and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Non-pharmacologic
  • Opioids
  • Pain care
  • Postoperative recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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