The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a Viewpoint editorial “The History of the Joint Commission’s Pain Standards: Lessons for Today’s Efforts to Address the Prescription Opioid Epidemic” by David W. Baker, MD, MPH, executive vice president, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission. The Feb. 23 editorial summarizes lessons to be learned since 2000, when The Joint Commission introduced standards for organizations to improve care for patients with pain, amid national efforts to address underassessment and under-treatment of such patients.
“Our sincere hope is this analysis of lessons learned over the last 16 years will help our country’s efforts to address the prescription opioid crisis,” Baker says. “Our goal at The Joint Commission is to try to prevent the pendulum of medical practice from swinging back too far toward the poor pain control of the past. It’s imperative we find a way to balance effective pain management for patients with the need to safely and judiciously prescribe opioids and protect the health of the general population.”
The Joint Commission continues to address pain management for patients. In 2016, based on extensive assessment of public health, health care organization and patients’ needs, The Joint Commission, with expert input from a Technical Advisory Panel of national pain experts, began drafting revisions to its pain management standards for accredited hospitals. The proposed standards were posted at The Joint Commission website for public comment Jan. 9 through Feb. 20, and will be finalized based on analysis of the information gathered during the comment period.
More information on pain management including the draft pain management standards is available on The Joint Commission’s website.