In 2017 an estimated 49,068 deaths in the US involved opioids. Even with significant attention and resources devoted to curbing the crisis, opioid misuse has only led to more deaths across the country.
While the causes of the opioid crisis are numerous, a lack of capacity to provide comprehensive pain assessments and multifaceted ways to manage pain are both significant drivers in health care systems. Health care professionals and organizations must simultaneously address overreliance on prescribing opioids while providing patients with safe and appropriate options to manage their pain. Additionally, patients with opioid use disorders need effective, evidence-based treatment to help move towards recovery.
This Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Virtual Expedition aims to give health care leaders and providers the information and skills they need to impact multiple drivers of the opioid crisis in their own communities. Including:
- Understanding the components of a comprehensive pain assessment
- Limiting the supply of excess prescription opioids for acute and chronic pain
- Decreasing the demand for prescription opioids through the promotion of alternative pain management strategies
- Managing patient expectations when it comes to pain and the risks of opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose
- Identifying, assessing, and managing patients at risk for harmful opioid misuse
Caring for patients with opioid use disorders in office-based settings
Given the complexity and severity of the crisis, work on each of these drivers needs to be implements in a coordinated, collaborative approach. Health systems, primary care teams, and clinicians in particular play a critical role in impacting each of these drivers.