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Provider Confidence in Opioid Prescribing and Chronic Pain Management
Session: MP-02a
Thurs, Nov. 16, 10 am-12 pm
Hampton Room

Please note, medically challenging cases are removed three months after the meeting and scientific abstracts after three years.


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Upon completion of this learning activity, participants should be able to

(1)Describe the percent of clinicians who did not feel confident managing chronic pain

(2)Identify at least 2 practice patterns associated with confidence in managing chronic pain
(3)Identify further opportunities for research on clinician perspectives in opioid prescribing.


Many providers report lack of confidence in managing patients with chronic pain. 

The primary aim of this study was to investigate the associations of provider confidence in managing chronic pain with their practice behaviors and demographics.


The primary outcome measure was the results of the Opioid Therapy Provider Survey, which was administered to clinicians attending a pain-focused continuing medical education conference.  Nonparametric correlations were assessed using Spearman’s rho.


The majority (60.8%) did not feel confident managing patients with chronic pain. Confidence in managing chronic pain was positively correlated with

(1)following an opioid therapy protocol (P = 0.001),
(2)a perceived ability to identify patients at risk for opioid misuse (P = 0.006),
(3)using a consistent practice-based approach to improve their comfort level with prescribing opioids (P < 0.001). 

Provider confidence was negatively correlated with the perception that treating pain patients was a “problem in my practice” (P = 0.005).


The majority of providers did not feel confident managing chronic pain. 

However, provider confidence was associated with a protocolized and consistent practice-based approach towards managing opioids and the perceived ability to identify patients at risk for opioid misuse. 

Future studies should investigate whether provider confidence is associated with measurable competence & explore approaches to enhance appropriate levels of confidence in their chronic pain management abilities.

1.Jamison RN, Scanlan E, Matthews ML, Jurcik DC, Ross EL. Attitudes of Primary Care Practitioners in Managing Chronic Pain Patients Prescribed Opioids for Pain: A Prospective Longitudinal Controlled Trial. Pain Med. 2016;17(1):99-113.
2.Alford DP, Zisblatt L, Ng P, et al. SCOPE of Pain: An Evaluation of an Opioid Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy Continuing Education Program. Pain Med. 2016;17(1):52-63.
3.Jamison RN, Sheehan KA, Scanlan E, Matthews M, Ross EL. Beliefs and attitudes about opioid prescribing and chronic pain management: survey of primary care providers. J Opioid Manag. 2014;10(6):375-382.
4.Hooten WM, Bruce BK. Beliefs and attitudes about prescribing opioids among healthcare providers seeking continuing medical education. J Opioid Manag. 2011;7(6):417-424.
5.Pearson AC, Eldrige JS, Moeschler SM, Hooten WM. Opioids for chronic pain: a knowledge assessment of nonpain specialty providers. J Pain Res. 2016;9:129-135.
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