Pain scores, analgesic utilization, and patient satisfaction among cancer patients at a community cancer center [presentation] Presentation uri icon


  • Background: Cancer-related pain is common, negatively impacts quality of life and survival, and often requires opioid analgesics. Patient level data describing the incidence and severity of pain, medication utilization, and patient satisfaction associated with care are lacking. An understanding of cancer pain prevalence and analgesic utilization is needed to initiate quality improvement (QI) interventions. Methods: We analyzed 2 months of outpatient oncology clinic encounters from the electronic medical record (EMR) and conducted a patient survey of 163 cancer patients to obtain baseline data on pain levels, opioid and non-opioid treatments, and patient satisfaction. Our survey incorporated questions from the Brief Pain Inventory to validate EMR reports and obtain patient satisfaction data. Results: Moderate to severe pain is reported in nearly 1 of every 9 cancer patient encounters (Table 1). On average, we achieved a personal pain goal (PPG) in 83.5 % of all patients (n=109). Among patients receiving opioids, a PPG was achieved in 16 of 29 patients (55.2%). Of the 13 opioid-consuming patients not achieving a PPG, 12 were not on a long-acting opioid, and 5 had never discussed a pain management plan with their physician. Oxycodone CR is the most commonly prescribed long-acting opioid (40.4% versus morphine SR (26.1%), methadone (23.0%), and fentanyl transdermal (10.6%)). Table 1. Measures of pain and medication utilization among cancer patients. Conclusions: Moderate to severe pain is commonly encountered among patients receiving cancer care in the clinic setting. Increasing the proportion of patients achieving a PPG is a critical quality and patient satisfaction goal, and may be improved by creating a pain plan incorporating a long-acting opioid. Our QI intervention aims to improve pain assessment documented in the EMR and educate both patients and staff regarding appropriate pain management.