Pain-education program will expand to western states

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Pain-education program will expand to western states

Grant from pharma consortium will extend guidance about safely prescribing painkillers.
Kim Blakeley

A University of Washington online education program aimed at helping healthcare providers more safely manage patients' chronic pain has received a nearly $800,000 grant. The funding to UW and its partners will extend continuing medical education to as many as 8,000 U.S. prescribers of painkiller medications clinically known as opioids.

The REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) Program Companies provided the funds; it is a consortium of pharmaceutical manufacturers formed in 2012 to to educate care providers that prescribe opioids, specifically extended-release and long-acting drugs such as Vicodin and Oxycodone. The grant was established in response to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)’s call for a concerted effort to evaluate and mitigate the risks of opioid prescriptions for people with chronic pain. Risks include drug addiction and accidental overdose.

Clare McLean
Dr. David Tauben leads the weekly TelePain video conference, which gives rural healthcare providers access to a panel of UW Medicine pain and opioid-addiction specialists to discuss management of patient cases.
David Tauben

The UW has been a national leader in efforts to treat chronic pain more comprehensively. 

“Our goal is to help providers better understand how to build trust with their patients. A collaborative care model is supported through the online course and through webinars that can be taken anywhere, any time,” said Dr. Mark Sullivan, a psychiatrist and pain physician at the UW Medicine Center for Pain Relief. He directs the training program, called COPE (Collaborative Opioid Prescribing Education), which targets regions of the states west of the Rockies.

“Particularly in rural and underserved areas where pain care and management need greater support,” said Sullivan, who will deliver the first of a new live and on-demand series March 4 through the PainCareLive online platform. 

Recent years have seen as many as 16,000 prescription drug overdoses per year in the United States. According to a 2013 U.S report, rates of opioid abuse are trending higher in the western U.S. states. The COPE course educates about how best to safely manage opioid prescribing, and informs about the potential risks of dose escalations and mixing opioids with alcohol or other medications. 

“This program gives us the opportunity to add to our regional training efforts directed at current physicians and the next generation of healthcare providers who deal with the complex issues commonly encountered in chronic pain assessment and management,” said Dr. David Tauben, medical director of the UW Medicine Center for Pain Relief.

COPE-REMS is an important way to reach providers seeking to learn more, said program manager Laura Cooley. COPE-REMS expands the previous COPE course, which is the only online opioid training proven effective in a randomized control trial. COPE also was endorsed by the International Association of the Study of Pain.

In addition to the UW, the grant also involves these regional partners: Northwest Regional Primary Care Association; CHAMPS: Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States; the Western Clinicians Network; and academic partners Oregon Health and Science University and University of California at Davis, in partnership with the healthcare-education company, PlatformQ Health. UW TelePain, a program that provides case consultations about chronic pain, is also supported through this new grant program. 


Learn more about COPE-REMS:
Learn more about the ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS:

About UW Medicine
The UW Medicine health system includes Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, UW Medical Center, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, UW School of Medicine, and Airlift Northwest.  UW Medicine also shares in the ownership and governance of Children’s University Medical Group and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a partnership among UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s. UW Medicine has major academic and service affiliations with Seattle Children’s, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and the VA Hospital in Boise, Idaho. The UW School of Medicine is the top public institution for biomedical research in funding received from the National Institutes of Health.
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PainCareLive: COPE-REMS Virtual Symposia Delivered by PlatformQ Health
The UW's COPE-REMS Training Program is partnering with PlatformQ Health to provide live and on-demand CME for COPE-REMS. PlatformQ Health is the leading provider of live online medical education events. Its unique education platform allows physicians and other healthcare professionals to connect online from any computer, learn about the latest treatment options, engage in real-time Q&A with top faculty and earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. PlatformQ Health produces therapeutically focused educational activities for physicians and other clinicians who practice in the area of pain management on its proprietary platform PainCareLive.