Decreasing the Dosage to Increase Positive Patient Outcomes

Through a new grant program, Generation Rx supports healthcare systems in the mission to reduce the risk of opioid overdose and dependency.

DUBLIN, Ohio, July 21, 2017 -- With philanthropic investments from the Cardinal Health Foundation's Generation Rx program, 10 healthcare organizations across the country will create measurable action plans designed to modify opioid prescribing, increase patient engagement and improve outcomes for patients suffering from chronic, non-cancer pain. The pain management initiatives will help healthcare organizations better engage healthcare providers, patients and caregivers to reduce the number of opioids prescribed for pain.

"Each of the organizations selected for funding share our goal of improving overall quality of care, increasing patient engagement and minimizing or finding alternatives to prescription opioids," says Dianne Radigan, vice president of Community Relations at Cardinal Health. "We're pleased to support our grant recipients as they develop innovations in care for chronic pain patients; our hope is for their best practices in pain management to cascade to other healthcare systems around the country to help reduce opioid dependency."

Each grantee received $34,000 to $35,000 to support their prescriber education and patient engagement initiatives over the next year. The grantees include large hospital systems, a children's hospital, a federally-qualified health center, a free medical clinic and a college of pharmacy. Each organization will measure progress in terms of pain management, patient satisfaction and total number and potency of opioids prescribed.

2017 Grant Recipients: Best Practices in Pain Management Projects

  • Advocate Health Care, Downers Grove, Ill.: PAIN POINTS: Process Improvement in the Perioperative Surgical Home to Promote Patient-Centered Pain Management and Reduce Risk of Opioid Dependencies
  • Johnstown Free Medical Clinic, Johnstown, Pa.: Pain Management, Risk Reduction
  • The MetroHealth Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio: Reducing Opioid Prescriptions for Patients in the Emergency Department for Acute Pain
  • New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, N.Y.: Weill Cornell Multi-Disciplinary Opioid Optimization and Reduction Program
  • Penobscot Community Health Center, Inc., Bangor, Maine: Chronic Pain Management and Controlled Substance Stewardship in a Federally Qualified Health Center
  • Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio: Reduction of Opioids Prescribed for Pediatric Patients and Improving Opioid Safety Education
  • Seventh-Day Adventists Loma Linda University Medical Center, Inc., Loma Linda, Calif.: NO PAIN (Negating Opioids and Pain Actively through INtervention) Program
  • Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation, Tuba City, Ariz.: Opioid Stewardship and Community Education Initiative
  • University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, Calif.: Community Pharmacy-Based Pain Management
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Wash.: Better Living through (Less) Chemistry: Improving Outcomes by Reducing Opioids Study

Grantees will also participate in a virtual learning collaborative led by chronic pain pharmacists at the Chronic Pain Clinic at Geisinger Health in Danville, Pa. The clinic was established in 2012 to help chronic pain patients better manage their pain, while providing clinical and educational support for the health system's physicians.

"As was the norm at the time, the year the clinic opened, a significant portion of the chronic pain patients seen by Geisinger physicians received opioid prescriptions," says Gerard Greskovic, R.Ph., Geisinger's director of Ambulatory Clinical Pharmacy programs. "However, we now know there is a significant and notable lack of evidence to demonstrate long-term benefits of opioids. As time goes by, patients can develop a tolerance to the effects of opioids, leading to a continual cycle of increasing dosage and a significantly greater risk of overdose and dependency."

Geisinger's chronic pain pharmacists work with the health system's primary care physicians to increase safe prescribing, and find alternative treatment options when appropriate, which include non-opioid medications, physical therapy, acupuncture and/or behavioral therapy. The virtual learning collaborative will emphasize how grantees can implement a similar collaboration with pharmacists and physicians in their community.

"Pharmacists engage patients in setting achievable pain management goals," Greskovic says. "We help reset expectations to be more focused on functionality and quality of life. Some patients may never be completely pain free, but they may be able to take their child to the park, walk their daughter down the aisle at her wedding, or — perhaps - go back to work."

For more information about the Generation Rx program or grant opportunities from Cardinal Health, please visit www.CardinalHealth.com/community.