Abeer Yassine

Abeer Yassine, is the MVC Hospital Engagement Associate

Drug overdoses are a leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with as many as 20,000 of these deaths in 2015 related to prescription pain relievers.1 Various studies have also drawn relationships between opioid usage and higher hospital costs (ex: 30-day readmissions). 2,3 Since the opioid epidemic does not come only at a cost to patient lives, but also to hospital systems across the country, pain management interventions have become widespread as a primary focus for hospitals. With hopes of helping address the Opioid Epidemic, there have been several promising interventions across the U.S. that are focused on different facets of pain management.

Straith Hospital, Southfield, Michigan

The original Straith Hospital focused on plastic and reconstructive surgery but over the past twenty-five years has branched out into other realms of heath care. In a recently published Crain’s Detroit article, Straith Hospital was highlighted for their new Interventional Pain Center in Southfield, Michigan.4 This new Interventional Pain Center is focused on comprehensive procedural interventions using multi-modal approaches to help limit and reduce the use of opioids in Michigan. Examples of procedural interventions include physical therapy and steroid injections. Straith decided to take this approach to pain management rather than medication management based on the needs of the population that they treat. To learn more about the variety of services at Straith’s Interventional Pain Center and the procedures they hope to offer click here.

Eliminating Medications Through Patient Ownership of End Results (EMPOWER) Study

For a variety of reasons opioids are often the drug of choice for treating patients with chronic non-cancer related pain. However, with limited knowledge on the effectiveness of these medications and scarce availability of alternative pain relief treatment options, a study is being conducted to elicit information about an online tool to help chronic pain patients. The EMPOWER study is a federally funded study focused on pain management through an online program for non-cancer patients. This $2.5 million study will examine the impact of an online tool, Goalistics Chronic Pain Management Program, over the course of five years. Goalistics offers daily activity trackers, planning, and relaxation tools and exercises to help individuals better manage their pain without the use of medication.

This online program was created by psychologists and offers patients easy-to-use tools to manage their chronic pain and has been shown to be effective in pain management in small samples. With investigators from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Washington State University College of Nursing, the EMPOWER study will expand the sample size to further examine the impact of online, holistic pain-management. For more information on the EMPOWER study, click here and here.

1 American Society of Addiction Medicine (2016). Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures. Google Scholar

2 Rogal, S., Mankaney, G., Udawatta, V., Good, C.B., Chinman, M., Zickmund, S., Bielefeldt, K., Jonassaint, N., Jazwinski, A., Shaikh, O., Hughes, C., Humar, A., DiMartini, A. and Fine, M.J. (2016), Association between opioid use and readmission following liver transplantation. Clinical Transplantation, 30: 1222–1229.  Google Scholar

3 Waljee J.F., Cron, D.C., Steiger, R.M., Zhong, L., Englesbe, M.J., and Brummett, C.M. (2017), Effect of Preoperative Opioid Exposure on Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures Following Elective Abdominal Surgery. Annals of Surgery, 265: 715-721.Google Scholar

4 Green, Jay (2017). Straith Hospital expands into interventional pain center program. Crain’s Detroit Business