Implementation of a pharmacist-managed clinic for patients with chronic nonmalignant pain

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Abstract

Purpose

A pharmacist-managed chronic pain clinic (PMCPC) in a primary care setting is described.

Summary

As primary care providers (PCPs) may be unprepared or lack time to manage high-risk patients receiving opioids for chronic nonmalignant pain, alternative models of care are needed. The University of Colorado PMCPC is integrated into an internal medicine outpatient clinic. The PMCPC is staffed by 1 clinical pharmacist, with pharmacy students and residents also performing clinic duties. The pharmacy team reviews health records to determine eligibility for PMCPC services and documents referral requests in the electronic health record (EHR); on PCP acceptance of a referral, the pharmacy team assumes primary responsibility for the patient's pain management under a collaborative practice agreement. Using a collaborative drug therapy management (CDTM) protocol, the pharmacy team conducts patient assessments, including an assessment for signs of aberrant drug-taking behaviors; provides initial and ongoing counseling and education; and makes recommendations to the PCP for opioid dosage adjustments and regimen additions and discontinuations. Experience at the clinic to date indicates that the PMCPC model is feasible and accepted by PCPs and patients.

Conclusion

A PMCPC based in a primary care setting was established to improve the care of patients with chronic nonmalignant pain who are prescribed opioid therapy for a period of 3 months or longer. Clinic patients are referred to the clinic through the EHR and managed by a pharmacist under a CDTM protocol.

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