A new education campaign developed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) in collaboration with the medical community aims to change the narrative around prescription opioid therapy, pain management and prescription opioid misuse in Minnesota. The campaign urges health care professionals to “flip the script” when speaking with their patients about opioids and pain management.
Many people struggling with opioid-related issues first became exposed to the drugs through prescription opioids for pain management. After years of wide variation in opioid prescribing, the medical community now faces the challenge of preventing new cases of inappropriate opioid use while continuing to provide appropriate pain management.
The goal of the campaign is to support Minnesota prescribers who may feel overwhelmed after years on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, who want to manage their patients’ pain while making sure they stay safe, according to DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey.
“The Minnesota medical community has taken significant steps to improve prescription opioid use and patient safety, yet we know that the conversations health care providers have with their patients about pain management and opioid use can be stressful and emotional,” Lourey said. “Each of these conversations may represent a dramatic turning point in that patient’s life.”
- Conversations starters and other tips for discussing alternatives to opioids for pain management, with an emphasis on preventing the progression from opioid use for acute pain to long-term opioid use for chronic pain (as defined in the Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines), and improving patient safety for those patients who continue opioid therapy.
- A video testimonial from one Greater Minnesota doctor who changed his opioid prescribing practices and ended up improving his relationship with his patients and how he thinks about his work.
- A podcast developed in partnership with the University of Minnesota about the Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. Although available to all audiences, the online learning activity offers physicians, pharmacists and nurses an opportunity to earn continuing education credits for learning more about the guidelines on safe opioid prescribing behavior.
“Our objective was to develop an online activity where providers could learn the state of Minnesota’s opioid prescribing guidelines in a convenient manner,” said Mark Rosenberg, MD, Vice Dean of Education and Academic Affairs for the University of Minnesota Medical School. “In addition to the flexible format, the learning activity includes case-based questions about opioid prescribing and pain management to assess the providers’ understanding of the prescribing guidelines.”
The Department of Human Services also collaborated with the Minnesota Medical Association to develop three webinars providing a deeper dive into the Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines and the DHS Opioid Prescribing Quality Improvement Program
. Physicians can earn up to three continuing medical education credits through the association’s webinar series.
“Flip the Script is about more than just reducing opioid prescribing – it’s about improving patient-provider communication about opioid use and emphasizing the importance of patient-centered care for pain management,” Lourey said.