A new patient safety organization has launched a range of online tools and other resources to reduce abuse of opioids by identifying the risks associated with their use. The materials from the CARES Alliance (Collaborating & Acting Responsibly to Ensure Safety) include several “safe-use” programs, tools and educational materials for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers.
They were developed using Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA), a scientific methodology that identifies where problems occur in the use of pain medications and the underlying causes of those problems. The FMEA research identified 79 areas where problems occur in the use of opioidsand 290 potential causes of those failures.
Tools now available include clinical materials and risk assessments for physicians, safe-use guides for patients and general education for all groups. The organization also plans to develop additional tools based on the research.
Jeffrey Gudin, MD, a pain management and addition specialist at the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, N.J., says that healthcare professionals need to do a better job of assessing our patients’ pain medication needs and of communicating the risks of the medications they prescribe.
“Through the resources of the C.A.R.E.S. Alliance, patients, caregivers and health professionals will have access to information, tools and resources to help them better understand these risks and better ensure that the medications are used properly by only those for whom they are prescribed,” he says.
The alliance, which is sponsored by Covidien, the largest producer of prescription pain medications in the U.S., also will work to ensure that patients suffering from chronic pain have access to necessary medications.