Few topics in healthcare generate more passion than the use of opioid medications for chronic, non-cancer pain. Some, in the debate, lead the charge for greater access to opioids, arguing fervently that these medications are under-prescribed, while others call for more limited access, arguing that opioids are over-prescribed. The central focus for these strong feelings is typically the issue of addiction, but other issues commonly receive attention as well, such as the effectiveness of opioids and humanitarian calls to alleviate suffering.
One of the more common sentiments that chronic pain patients express is that that the profit-motive seems to have had too much of an influence on the recommendations that their healthcare providers have made over the years. After reflecting on all the years of chronic pain and all the years of failed treatments, many of which were tried again and again despite having failed to reduce pain at previous clinics, they conclude that the business side of healthcare has played too much of a role in their own care. They are now disappointed, angry, and distrustful of chronic pain management providers.
In its current aims, the Institute for Chronic Pain promotes the theory and practice of chronic painrehabilitation. While far from the most profitable form of treatment, it is the most empirically supported. Moreover, a commitment to our guiding values ensures us to promote what, at the current time, is known to be the most efficacious treatment.
People outside the healthcare industry, such as the typical consumers of healthcare, are often surprised to find out that some of the most common healthcare procedures and therapies are largely ineffective on average. It can sometimes even border on disbelief. When seeking healthcare, most people assume that the treatments healthcare providers recommend are effective. This assumption forms a basic trust in our healthcare providers – that they know what they are doing and that they wouldn’t recommend something that they know is ineffective. So, it seems hard to believe that a provider might ever recommend treatments that have been shown to be ineffective on average.