HCPs Desire More Education in Opioid, Chronic Pain Management

"Providers were most interested in receiving training on universal precautions (64%) and use of opioids to manage chronic pain (56%)," stated the authors.
The following article features coverage from PAINWeek 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Click here to read more of MPR‘s conference coverage.

Results of a study presented at Pain Week 2017 found that, although healthcare providers (HCPs) feel “generally comfortable” treating patients with opioids, they desire more education and training in various aspects of opioid and chronic pain management.

Twenty-five paper assessment surveys from HCPs from various practice settings in New Jersey and Tennessee were analyzed. The providers were asked anonymously about their demographics, training, awareness, and practices on managing chronic opioid therapy. All parameters were reported using descriptive statistics.

Analysis of the HCPs’ demographics found that 44% of survey respondents were nurse practitioners, 36% were physicians, and 28% were from family or internal medicine practices. 64% of survey respondents reported having ≥11 years of experience.

“While 7 of 25 respondents (28%) said their patients are receiving opioid therapy for an extended period (>3 months), 9 of 25 respondents (36%) said this represented less than 10% of their population,” the study authors reported. Analysis of the data also found that, although 68% of providers reported being comfortable with treating patients with opioids for >3 months (mean score: 5.8; 1–10 scale), 44% of respondents stated they avoided prescribing opioids. 

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The authors added, “The majority of providers (80%) recognize opioid abuse as a priority in their practice, distinguish between acute and chronic pain (76%), differentiate between nociceptive, neuropathic and mixed pain (56%), measure function (56%) and document pain severity scores (76%).”

Data from the study revealed that only 36% of respondents reported screening for past or current substance abuse. Survey analysis also found that 64% of respondents utilize their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) while 88% reported receiving training on it within the last 2 years.

“Providers were most interested in receiving training on universal precautions (64%) and use of opioids to manage chronic pain (56%),” stated the authors.  Additionally, survey analysis found that respondents preferred live educational programs to other educational activities.

The study found that, although most providers feel comfortable with prescribing opioids for chronic pain management, they desire additional education on this topic, particularly concerning universal precautions. 

Read more of MPR‘s coverage of PAINWeek 2017 by visiting the conference page.


  1. 1. Breve F, Batastini L, Crutchfield D. Provider Knowledge and Practices for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Mid Atlantic PharmaTech Consultants, LLC. Ventnor City, NJ, USA.