Task Force Says Patient-Centered Care is Key to Best Practices

The Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force was created to update best practices, issue recommendations for managing chronic and acute pain, and to propose updates to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. The Task Force has 28 members representing federal and non-federal entities with diverse disciplines and views.

Dr. Vanila M. Singh M.D., MACM, Chief Medical Officer, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, and Chairperson, Pain Management Interagency Task Force, recently provided updates regarding the Task Force’s final recommendations, including a broad framework of approaches for treating acute and chronic pain.

The Task Force identified some of the following best practices in pain management:

  • Mitigate Opioid Exposure

The task force emphasized safe opioid stewardship, recommending approaches that mitigate opioid exposure. Additionally, they believe there is a need for multidisciplinary approaches to chronic pain that focuses on the patient’s medical condition, co-morbidities and various aspects of care including: medications, restorative movement therapies, interventional procedures, integrative health services, and behavioral health.

  • Address Needs and Gaps

The task force also found the need to address stigma, risk assessment, access to care and education for all stakeholders. Addressing these needs and gaps will help clinicians manage acute and chronic pain in an individualized patient-centered way. The CDC released a guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain and believe it may have been misinterpreted and misapplied. The Task Force believes unintended consequences such as forced tapering and patient abandonment have contributed to adverse patient outcomes.

  • Opioids Necessary for Certain Pain Conditions in Certain Patients

Opioids are an important and necessary component in treating certain pain conditions in certain patients. The decision to prescribe an opioid depends on the patient’s condition and the provider’s ability to do a proper risk assessment with periodic re-evaluation and thoughtful consideration of the risks associated with opioids. It is important to ensure that the patient is educated on risks and alternatives. The patient’s history and medical condition will be critical components of this assessment.

It is important to know that the Task Force does not recommend the indiscriminate removal or forced tapering of opioids as a treatment option. They acknowledged that opioids have the potential to lead to physical dependence and possible opioid use disorder, particularly in certain at-risk populations. Risk assessment and periodic re-evaluation and monitoring is required and should be a part of the treatment plan.

  • Non-Opioid Treatments May Not Always Be Appropriate

The Task Force acknowledged that there is a certain subpopulation of patients whose health outcomes do not improve with non-opioid treatments. Initiation of opioid therapy, when the benefits are deemed by the patient and the clinician to outweigh the risks should be administered for the shortest duration and at the lowest dose of medication required to optimally control the pain and/or improve function and quality of life.

We at HCP also offer an Opioid Crisis Training Course that covers the following and more:

  • Overview of the Opioid Epidemic
  • Types of Opioids and How They Work
  • Recognizing Addiction and Physical Dependence
  • Doctor Shopping
  • HHS 5-Point Strategy
  • State PDMP Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
  • CDC Checklist for Prescribing
  • Roles of Healthcare Professionals
  • Instructions for Patients

Are you interested in adding the Opioid Crisis Training to your compliance program? Please contact us by email: [email protected] or by phone: 855-427-0427.

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