This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Each year in the United States, more than 17 million patients go to the hospital for acute pain from common problems such as back pain. Doctors often prescribe a type of pain medicine called opioids to treat acute pain. But some patients who take opioids may become addicted or misuse them.
Some patients have a higher chance of becoming addicted to opioids than others. Decision aids can help patients understand their risk and work with their doctors to decide how to treat acute pain. Decision aids help people choose between two or more healthcare options based on what is most important to them.
In this study, the research team is comparing three ways to help patients with acute pain work with their doctor to decide whether to use opioids. One way is to help patients understand their own risk for addiction or misuse. Another is to have other patients offer their stories about pain treatment and challenges with opioid prescriptions.
Who can this research help?
Clinicians, such as doctors or nurses, can use results from this study when thinking about how to help patients choose treatment for acute pain.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 1,100 patients, ages 18 to 70 who are receiving treatment for acute back or kidney stone pain at four hospitals. The hospitals are in Minnesota, New York, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. Before patients leave the hospital, the team is assigning patients by chance to one of three groups. Patients in all three groups receive a general information sheet about the risks of taking opioid medicine. The first group receives the information sheet only.
The second group also receives a decision aid that helps patients understand their risk of opioid addiction. Patients take a brief survey. Then the decision aid uses a color-coded thermometer to show patients their risk of addiction from using opioids.
The third group receives the same decision aid plus access to one or more two-minute videos with patient stories about opioid use and misuse. The videos also discuss the risks of keeping unused opioids at home.
The research team is surveying patients prior to leaving the hospital and again seven days, three months, and one year later. The team is comparing the groups on knowledge about opioid risks. The team is also comparing whether patients like their treatment plan, get the treatment plan they want, are satisfied with their care, and how the groups compare on using opioid or nonopioid medicine.
Patients, community members, and clinicians are helping plan and carry out the study.
Research methods at a glance
Training and Education Interventions
- Jeffrey Bell
- Rachel Graves
- Michael Zyla
- Sharon Mccollum
- Melissa Rogers
Other Stakeholder Partners
- Carolyn Cutilli, PHD, RN/Patient and Family Education Specialist, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
- Lewis Nelson, MD/New York City Poison Control Center
- Donald M. Yealy, MD/University of Pittsburgh, Department of Emergency Medicine
- Nicole Thomas, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
- Leslie Dye MD, American College of Medical Toxicology
^This project was previously titled: The Comparative Effectiveness of Probabilistic versus Patient Narrative: Enhanced Risk Communication for Pain Management Following Acute Care