Establishment of personalized pain goals in oncology patients to improve care and decrease costs Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • PURPOSE: Cancer-related pain is common, negatively affects quality of life and survival, and often requires treatment with opioid analgesics. Patient-reported data that describe the incidence and severity of pain, medication use, and patient satisfaction with care are lacking. METHODS: We analyzed 18 months of outpatient oncology clinic encounters from the electronic medical record to obtain data on pain levels and opioid and nonopioid treatments. In June 2014, we instituted a pain intervention by creating a pain management information handout for patients, educating clinicians on opioid cost-effectiveness, and implementing a nursing protocol to document personalized pain goals (PPGs). RESULTS: Moderate to severe pain was reported in nearly 15% of patient encounters. We observed an increase in the percentage of encounters with a documented PPG of 16% to 71% ( P < .001). On average, PPG was achieved in 84% of patients. Rates of high-cost long-acting opioid prescriptions (oxycodone controlled release and fentanyl patches), as a total of all long-acting opioids, declined from 45% preintervention to 33% postintervention ( P = .005). CONCLUSION: Our intervention improved rates of PPG documentation and decreased the number of prescriptions for high-cost long-acting opioids. Oncology clinics can implement simple quality improvement methods, such as asking patients about their PPG and educating clinicians about opioid costs, to improve outcomes and lower treatment costs.

publication date

  • 2017