The Joint Commission pain management dead-line is approaching fast

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, October 1, 2017

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Start delegating work now to get your facility ready by January
The Joint Commission finally has prepublished its new and revised pain management standards. They’ll go into effect on January 1, and there is a lot of work to do between now and then. The newest pain management standards call for leadership and responsibility and include changes such as:
•    Enabling clinician access to prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) databases
•    Performance improvement activities focusing on pain assessment and management to increase the safety and quality for patients
•    Identifying the leader or leadership team responsible for pain management and safe opioid prescribing
•    Involving patients in developing their treatment plans and setting realistic expectations and measurable goals
•    Identifying and monitoring high-risk patients as a way to promote safe opioid use

The new standards come on the heels of a nationwide effort to address opioid abuse and a concerted campaign by Joint Commission leaders in the last year to defend the organization from the perception that pain management standards it set years ago somehow contributed to the burgeoning epidemic.
Facilities should assign teams to research best practices in pain management, get the medical staff working on revising protocols and determining how to gather data on pain management effectiveness, and alert your information technology and electronic health records experts that they will be needed.
Multidisciplinary teams are needed
Accreditation and pain management experts both say that revising and adding to the pain assessment and management standards before the January 1 deadline will require multidisciplinary implementation teams. These teams should draw from the C-suite, medical staff, experts in quality metrics, education and training, information technology (IT), and especially the nursing department.
“The requirements are broad and detailed,” notes consultant Jennifer Cowel, RN, MHSA, a former Joint Commission director of service operations and now president of Naperville, Illinois–based Patton Healthcare Consulting. She says the revisions “require patient education, new patient screening, and additional monitoring. The EHR will need to allow for the new tracking to be captured.”
The requirements are not quick and easy, she says, and they can’t be accomplished by a single department alone.
“They are really trying to move the needle on appropriate use of pain interventions, including opioids,” she says. “By creating the new leadership standard, they are forcing a leadership approach to this issue.”

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