The opioid epidemic that has gripped the US for over 20 years has worsened during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with the highest number of drug overdose deaths occurring in 2020. This sobering fact emphasizes the need for healthcare providers (HCPs) to be able to provide evidence-based care and be able to recognize their patients who are at risk for opioid addiction.
To help address this educational need, the US FDA provided a blueprint for continuing education for HCPs in the use of opioid analgesics in pain management in 2016 and an update in 2018. The blueprint defines specific aspects of pain management and opioid analgesic use to be addressed in continuing education (CE), e.g. definitions of pain and its mechanisms, components of an effective treatment plan of pain, managing patients on opioid analgesics, opioid addiction. Rockpointe has developed and presented multiple continuing education programs for HCPs based on these FDA blueprints.
In assessing the outcomes of these programs, Rockpointe found consistent and statistically significant improvements in the knowledge gaps identified above among the participants following completion of the CE programs. Moreover, some of the same improvements, e.g. proper extended-release opioid conversion, were noted within the 90-day follow-up data from a subset of participants, suggesting incorporation of the learning into daily practice. These data demonstrate the ability of educational to address knowledge gaps and improve practices among HCPs in the evidence-based use of opioids to treat patients with acute and chronic pain.
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