Objective: Standardized processes have evolved in response to the opioid epidemic. The impact of standardized processes on patients has not been adequately described. Methods: Five focus groups were held at four affiliated academic family medicine clinics. All participants experienced a transition to a standardized process for their ongoing opioid use for chronic, non-cancer pain. Data was analyzed and coded using a grounded theory approach with NVivo12 (QSR International). Results: Thirty patients participated. Five main themes emerged: experience of pain; view of opioid medications; view of opioid prescribing process changes; “good patients” and trust; and experience with medical clinicians and clinics. Conclusions: Standardized processes created to improve the safety of opioid prescribing have burdened patients and resulted in a loss of trust and autonomy. Patients perceived greater risks for other patients prescribed opioids and processes are a result of their actions. Practice Implications: Healthcare systems must acknowledge patients’ burden, shift away from interventions that are limited in supporting data, reinforce patient agency and shift the conversation to unsafe medications rather than supervision of “bad actors”.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Discovery Fund Award, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School. Funding source had no role in the development of study design; collection, analysis, interpretation of the data; writing of the manuscript; nor decision to submit the article for publication.
- Chronic pain
- Family practice
- Focus groups
- Primary healthcare
- Professional-patient relations
- Pain Management/methods
- Practice Patterns, Physicians'
- Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy
- Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
- Chronic Pain/drug therapy
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article