New AHRQ How-To Guide Helps Primary Care Practices Manage Patients Taking Opioids

By Gopal Khanna, M.B.A., Director of AHRQ
Twitter: @AHRQNews

As the Nation continues to reel from the opioid crisis—a public health epidemic that claims at least 130 lives per day—we continue to look for ways to limit the damage. At AHRQ, part of our work to improve 21st century healthcare involves developing tools for providers and patients, including those who take opioids to manage chronic pain.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has declared the misuse of opioids to be a public health emergency and announced a 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis that is already showing success. We at AHRQ join our HHS colleagues in attacking the scourge of the opioid crisis from every possible angle.

As I often say, care and cure are two sides of the same coin. At AHRQ, we are considering non-opioid strategies for dealing with chronic pain and developing a research agenda to find new ways to attack the problem.

Today, we are releasing a new AHRQ how-to guide that builds on our Six Building Blocks opioid treatment toolkit, which is a structured, systems-based approach to treating patients who use long-term opioid therapy. The new Self-Service How-To Guide helps clinicians implement the Six Building Blocks in a 3-stage, 15-month timeline. It is intended for clinicians and staff, quality improvement personnel, practice coaches, and clinic administrators.

Finding ways to alleviate patients’ pain while ensuring the safe and appropriate use of opioids is one of the most challenging jobs facing our doctors and nurses. It is my hope that this new guide helps our clinicians navigate that essential pathway as we continue to confront the national opioid crisis.

This article was originally published on AHRQ Views Blog and is republished here with permission.