CME Activity Targets Opioid Epidemic Through Adaptive Learning

On each day in 2017, 91 deaths were attributed to opioid overdose; in fact, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has increased six-fold since 1999. The numbers are clear: clinicians are failing to alleviate the nation’s growing opioid crisis. Through an adaptive-learning continuing medical education (CME) program, a collaboration of several organizations (Rockpointe, University of North Texas, CogBooks, and O’Donnell Learn) and available through the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) CE Certification Directory, is offering a new approach to help clinicians turn the tide against an epidemic that has had catastrophic consequences.

To help address the opioid crisis, the FDA developed a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for the use of outpatient opioid analgesics and, in 2012, issued an educational blueprint to provide guidance on prescribing opioid analgesics for pain management. In September 2018, the FDA updated the blueprint to include additional information on pain management, such as components of an effective treatment plan, non-pharmacologic treatments for pain, pharmacologic treatments for pain (non-opioid and opioid analgesics), and a primer on addiction medicine. It also widened the scope of the blueprint to apply not only to prescribers, but to all healthcare providers involved in the management of patients with pain.

Rockpointe’s new adaptive-learning CME activity, “Opioid Analgesics: Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and the New FDA Blueprint,” presents participating clinicians with a thorough review of the FDA’s updated educational blueprint to facilitate the evidence-based management of pain in their patients on a daily basis. The education provides tools to help clinicians mitigate issues associated with opioid therapies, such as misuse and addiction. The program aims to educate 10,000 clinicians using adaptive-learning technologies, with the results to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Physicians across many specialties manage acute and chronic pain in their patients on a daily basis. With 58 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 people in the United States in 2017, it is imperative that clinicians integrate non-pharmacologic and non-opioid analgesics into pain treatment plans in an evidence-based manner, appropriately identify patients who are candidates for opioid therapy, and recognize how to effectively monitor these patients during treatment periods. This activity is intended for those involved in direct patient care, including clinicians registered with the DEA who are eligible to prescribe all opioid analgesics. In addition, because of the broader scope of the revised FDA educational blueprint, the intended audience may include members of the healthcare team who are not authorized to prescribe.

After completing the activity, participants should be able to:

  • Define the components of an effective treatment plan, such as treatment goals, patient engagement, and collaboration within the healthcare team;
  • Assess the risks and benefits of non-pharmacologic therapies prior to initiating long-term pharmacologic therapy;
  • Identify patients who are candidates for treatment with non-opioid pharmacologic analgesics;
  • Evaluate criteria for initiating opioid analgesics; and
  • Identify risk factors for addiction to opioid analgesics.

Adaptive Learning

The program’s adaptive-learning instructional design allows for a tailored educational experience that addresses the unique needs of each learner. The activity incorporates text, interactive questions, and audio recordings of faculty experts synced with a slide presentation. Depending on each participant’s response to the questions in the activity, an algorithm creates a unique educational pathway. Those with a good grasp of a concept move closer to completion, while others with less knowledge are provided additional content/questions to assist in gaining an adequate understanding of a topic. Post-activity content-based questions are used to assess learning, along with measures of clinicians’ perceptions of the content and their confidence in managing patients with pain.

This CME program is available online at Clinicians will be able to claim CME credit upon successful completion of the program.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) and Rockpointe. UNTHSC is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. UNTHSC designates this enduring material for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

Through the American Board of Medical Specialties (“ABMS”) ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Continuing Certification Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory, “Opioid Analgesics: Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and the New FDA Blueprint” has met the requirements as a MOC Part II Self-Assessment or MOC Part II CME Activity (apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards:

MOC Part II Self-Assessment Activity
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

MOC Part II CME Activity
Allergy and Immunology
Family Medicine
Internal Medicine
Medical Genetics and Genomics
Nuclear Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry and Neurology
Thoracic Surgery

This CME webcourse is available through August 30, 2020, and the on-demand format allows participants to view the presentation at their own convenience from the comfort of their home or office.

This activity is supported by an independent educational grant from the Opioid Analgesic REMS Program Companies. For a list of REMS Program Companies, see:

Through effective continuing medical education, Rockpointe strives to improve and advance the quality of patient care. Its educational programs have been at the forefront of new issues in healthcare, including implementing MIPS, combating the nation’s opioid crisis, and utilizing technical advances that improve care. As part of its commitment to quality, Rockpointe works to inform the continuing-education community of significant quality-improvement issues through news and analysis on Policy and Medicine. In addition, its popular Medical Education Exchange (MEDX) CME regional meetings include sessions on the basics of quality improvement and alternative payment models, as well as relevant and scientifically accurate sessions on numerous disease states. All sessions include links back to associated National Quality Priorities to reinforce the bigger picture and the triple aim of: 1) improving health and 2) lowering cost to 3) better the patient experience. At Rockpointe, education equals quality.

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