Cedars Sinai lands $2 million PCORI award to study how to tackle opioid epidemic

Researchers will use the funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to employ pharmaceutical claims and EHR data in their effort to both reduce the impact of pain and cut down down on opioid abuse.
By Bernie Monegain
11:49 AM
Cedars-Sinai PCORI opioid

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai are gearing up to study the most effective ways for doctors to discuss opioid use with chronic pain patients. The goal is to reduce the impact of pain while curbing overuse of the addictive drugs.

With $2 million from the not-for-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the researchers will launch the yearlong initiative this year.  

The new research effort comes as patients, doctors, law enforcement authorities and others struggle with an opioid overdose epidemic in the across the country. It’s an epidemic that claimed more than 33,000 lives in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Opioid-related deaths have quadrupled since 1999, according to CDC. The deaths have been attributed in part to overdoses from prescription pain relievers.

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“More people die of drug overdoses in the U.S. than car accidents or guns,” Brennan Spiegel, MD, director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai, who will lead the research team, said in a statement. “This sobering statistic reveals a massive, nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction that is costing lives and money.”

The study also will capture pain medication use through electronic health record details and pharmaceutical claims data. Spiegel added the study would test whether the electronic health record can assist in disrupting how pain treatments are discussed and managed between patients and providers.

When aiming to limit opioid use, most studies rely on prescription claims data to gauge results. The Cedars-Sinai project is different because it also will use patient feedback that is critical for successful chronic pain management, Spiegel noted.

Researchers will work with patients, consumer advocates, addiction specialists and primary care providers.

The team will spend a year comparing the effectiveness of two established communication strategies used by doctors who treat chronic pain patients. 

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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