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An online training program designed to reduce prescription drug abuse shows promise in early results, HealthCanal reports.

A three-month follow-up survey shows providers who participated in the program have changed their chronic pain management practices based on what they learned. Of those who currently manage pain patients, 84 percent said they have changed the way they practice. Almost 80 percent agreed or strongly agreed they increased their knowledge about the treatment and management of non-cancer chronic pain. In addition, 75 percent said they are more confident in managing chronic, non-cancer pain patients.

Among providers who took the course but are not managing chronic pain patients, 79 percent said they now coordinate care with providers who do manage chronic patients, based on what they learned in the course.

The course, called “The Opioid Crisis: Guidelines and Tools for Improving Chronic Pain Management,” was developed by a team of researchers and health care providers at the Center for Worker Health and Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. It is designed to retrain health care providers on updated state and federal chronic pain management guidelines. It provides instructions for which evidence-based best practices should be used before prescribing opioids. Since launching last November, more than 1,000 Colorado health care providers have been enrolled.

“The level of interest and engagement that we are seeing in the medical community indicates that practitioners are taking this major public health issue seriously,” said Center Director Lee Newman, MD. “We are greatly encouraged by the high number of prescribers who recognize that by improving how they treat patients who experience chronic, non-cancer pain, they can also help turn the tide on the opioid prescription epidemic.”

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