CME Needs Assessment
Pain is one of the most common reasons for patients to seek medical attention and one of the most prevalent medical complaints in the US.1-3 According to the 2006 National Center for Health Statistics Report, one in 10 Americans overall and three in five of those 65 years or older said that they experienced pain that lasted a year or more.2 More than one-quarter of adults said they had experienced low back pain, and 15% of adults experienced migraine or severe headache in the past three months. Between the periods 1988-94 and 1999-2002, the percentage of adults who took a narcotic drug to alleviate pain in the past month rose from 3.2 percent to 4.2 percent.
For the the millions of Americans who experience persistent pain, the impact on function and quality of life can be profound.2-4 Pain is associated with high utilization of health care4 and the societal costs related to treatment are compounded by the loss in productivity associated with persistent pain. Lost productive time from common pain conditions among workers costs an estimated $61.2 billion per year and most of this is related to reduced performance while at work.5 The total annual cost of poorly controlled persistent pain most likely exceeds $100 billion.
Physicians and other healthcare providers need current, state-of-the-art education to address prevailing attitudes towards pain, because physician and patient views can present barriers to optimal pain management. Physicians and other healthcare professionals also need education to assist them in developing the skills required to evaluate and manage pain in special populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities. This CME program describes barriers to pain management, issues in managing pain in special populations, and barriers specific to racial and ethnic minorities.