Pharmaceutical company, state hospital association develop a new approach to pain management to reduce opioid use

Nurse-Patient-Hospital-Credit: Getty/monkeybusinessimages
A global specialty pharmaceutical company and a state hospital association have launched a new pain stewardship program that will educate providers and clinical staff about nonopioid treatments and techniques to consider for pain management. (Getty/monkeybusinessimages)

A global specialty pharmaceutical company and a state hospital association have launched a new pain stewardship program that will educate providers and clinical staff about nonopioid treatments and techniques to consider for pain management.

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association announced it will work with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals to provide evidence-based, educational pain management tools to help hospitals assess their current protocols and identify areas for improvement. Their mission is to educate providers on multimodal analgesia (MMA)-based acute pain management to support improvements in the use of opioids in hospitals, length of stay and patient satisfaction.

MMA combines two or more analgesic agents or techniques that use different mechanisms to provide pain relief with fewer opioids. Nonopioid treatments—both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic—are used as the foundation of acute pain management. When this treatment is used in combination with opioids, it may reduce opioid doses needed to effectively manage patient pain, the MHA said. Furthermore, the stewardship program may reduce the risk of opioid-related adverse drug events and lead to shorter lengths of hospital stays.

A work group of the MHA's Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Task Force, led by John M. Connolly, M.D., chairman of the Department of Anesthesia and VPMM at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, and James A. Berghelli, director of clinical integration at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, worked with Mallinckrodt to develop the pain stewardship materials.

"Massachusetts hospitals and clinicians have made significant improvements in reducing overall opioid usage as well as educating our patients on associated risk factors and proper disposal of opioids. Our providers are also committed to developing alternative pain management practices that improve patient satisfaction, safety and outcomes," Patricia M. Noga, Ph.D., R.N., vice president of clinical affairs at MHA and the chair of the task force, said in the announcement. 

The two organizations will provide acute pain management resources and tools via a new website, www.PainStewardship.com, to help hospitals build internal consensus, implement recommendations, educate surgical patients and assess both patient acute pain and clinical risk factors. These resources and tools include:

  • Acute pain management guide (PDF) and published analgesic recommendations
  • Patient education brochure (PDF) and hospital checklists
  • Videos
  • MMA infographic
  • Speaker resource

See one of the videos included in the resources below: