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Educating Clinicians Important in Safe Opioid Prescribing, Study Shows

Thursday, August 27, 2015

 

A recent study has found that educating clinicians how to safely prescribe opioids has a clear connection with a decrease in opioid misuse among chronic pain sufferers.

The study by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), through its Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program, has trained 10,566 participants since its launch in June 2014.

“Our program improved knowledge, attitudes, confidence and clinical practice in safe opioid prescribing,” explained corresponding author Daniel Alford, MD, associate professor of medicine and assistant dean at Boston University School of Medicine and course director of the SCOPE of Pain program.

The findings of the study, which were revealed online in the journal Pain Medicine, confirm that education can empower clinicians to make more informed clinical decisions about initiating, continuing, changing or discontinuing opioids for patients suffering from chronic pain based on a careful benefit versus risk/harm assessment.

According to the findings, immediately following the SCOPE of Pain program,  87 percent of participants stated they were planning to make at least one change to align their practice with guideline-based care. The most frequently stated changes were 1) to improve opioid prescribing documentation (56 percent); 2) to implement or improve opioid prescribing patient education or communication (53 percent); and 3) to institute or improve Patient-Prescriber Agreements (47 percent).

 

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