This Phase II proposes the development and testing of an online CME program for primary care physicians called Managing Addiction and Pain in Primary Care (MAP-PC). Multiple studies have supported the utility of opioids in the treatment of acute pain and pain related to cancer, but they continue to be under-prescribed by physicians for chronic pain. Many physicians are concerned about possible abuse by patients, potential liability, and censure by regulatory agencies. The reluctance to prescribe opioids is particularly evident among primary care physicians (PCPs), who treat a high proportion of pain patients. An improvement in the ability of primary care physicians to adopt pain management and addiction medicine principles would lead to more appropriate use of opioids, along with more successful pain treatment outcomes in patients, especially those with potential or past substance misuse/abuse. The promotion of Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) for opioids by the FDA will likely require further development of continuing education programs for physicians. Unfortunately, there is a lack of such training for physicians treating chronic pain patients. With the advent of the Internet and business logic (decision branching) software, there is technology available to engage and educate physicians seeking to build pain treatment skills. Using this technology, MAP-PC will help physicians: (1) increase pain management and addiction medicine skills with pain patients at risk of opioid abuse or misuse;(2) make informed decisions about the appropriate use of opioids for their patients;and (3) manage clinical challenges that arise during the course of pain treatment with opioids. In Phase II, we will complete the development of MAP-PC and the study measures. The efficacy study will involve randomization to two conditions: (1) Experimental (MAP-PC) and (2) Control (online text-based CME). The Experimental and Control groups will undergo a baseline assessment, post-intervention, and three-month follow- ups. Phase II involves testing the hypotheses that, relative to the control condition, physicians exposed to MAP-PC will: (1) improve expertise in managing opioid risk in chronic pain patients, (2) enhance self-efficacy in managing opioid risk in chronic pain patients, and (3) improve clinical practice behaviors with respect to identifying and addressing opioid risk issues in pain patients. We will also test the secondary hypotheses that, relative to the control condition, physicians exposed to MAP-PC will perceive significantly: (1) fewer barriers to prescribe opioids for chronic pain patients, and (2) reduced reluctance to prescribe opioids for chronic pain (changed beliefs). Finally, we will test user satisfaction with and acceptance of MAP-PC.
Pain is often under-treated due to primary care physicians'ambivalence about prescribing opioid medications for fear that the patient might abuse or become addicted to the medication. This is particularly true for patients with potential or past substance misuse/abuse. This research project will culminate in the development and testing of an interactive Continuing Medical Education (CME) course, Managing Addiction and Pain in Primary Care (MAP-PC), that teaches primary care physicians about pain management and addiction medicine skills with pain patients at risk of opioid abuse or misuse. If successful, this program can enhance public health by helping physicians to offer needed treatment to chronic pain patient while managing the risk of opioid misuse/abuse more effectively.