The public will have the opportunity to make comments on the Draft Report on Pain Management Best Practices: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations (Draft Report) before it is submitted to Congress.
The Draft Report is a 60-page report created by the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. The Task Force identifies various “gaps” in current pain management best practices and offers over 100 recommendations for updates and improvement.
The public comment period will be open for 90 days.
The Draft Report
Compiled by 29 experts, the Draft Report is a comprehensive list of recommendations to be submitted to Congress later this year.
The central issue of the Draft Report is to address pain management without worsening the growing opioid crisis.
Quoting the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2017), the Draft Report writes, “The ongoing opioid crisis lies at the intersection of two substantial public health challenges — reducing the burden of suffering from pain and containing the rising toll of the harms that can result from the use of opioid medications.”
The topics addressed in the Draft Report’s 100+ recommendations include the following:
- Nonpharmacological approaches to pain – among the most extensively discussed topics in the Draft Report is reducing the need for opioid solutions to pain altogether. This is specifically through the use of alternative pain management solutions. The Draft Report recommends restorative therapies such as massage therapy, traction, and bracing as methods of reducing pain.
- Identifying special populations – “pain and pain management are complex in part because various populations have unique issues that affect acute and chronic pain.” The Draft Report identifies special populations including children, older adults, women, pregnant women, individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD), individuals with other chronic relapsing pain conditions, racial and ethnic minority populations, and active-duty service members and veterans.
- Closing state PDMP gaps – prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are electronic databases documenting patients’ history of controlled substance use. In 39 states, prescribers are required to consult these PDMPs before prescribing. The Draft Report identifies the gaps of differing PDMP designs by state and lack of PDMP training, among others. One of their PDMP-related recommendations is the integration of PDMPs into electronic health records (EHRs), an update we at AZZLY® recently made to our EHR AZZLY Rize™.
- Decreasing stigma and increasing education – lack of education and stigmas surrounding prescription drugs can cause some people to falsely conflate individuals suffering from opioid use disorders with patients receiving opioid medications as a form of therapy for pain management. For these reasons, some patients with legitimate pain may shy away from seeking the treatment they need. Likewise, stigma around substance use disorders may prevent people with SUDs from seeking the help they need. The Draft Report recommends increased education into the disease of pain to reduce stigma.
As required by law, a 90-day window is open to allow the public to make comments on the draft report.
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