Free federal tools available to aid physicians treating chronic pain

A new tool from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality can help physicians find pain-related information on a particular patient.

The agency says the tool consolidates information scattered in the electronic health record into a single view or dashboard.

AHRQ estimates that 50 million American adults have chronic pain on a daily basis, which interferes with daily life or work for 20 million individuals.

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“It is encouraging to know that increasing energy is being devoted to pain management,” says Gopal Khanna, director at AHRQ. “I am pleased that AHRQ is contributing to the effort with a groundbreaking innovation developed to help clinicians better manage patients’ pain with greater use of digital technology,” he wrote in a recent blog posting.

The new tool is “Factors to Consider in Managing Chronic Pain,” a free open-source software package that supports data exchange standards such as HL7, FHIR and SMART. A summary or dashboard enables a physician to quickly access patient vitals, medical history, pain assessments, previous treatments and potential risks.

AHRQ further is offering implementation guides and guidance on using the tool in a live setting.

Another tool, the CDS Connect Initiative, offers a platform for developing and sharing interoperable clinical decision support resources that aid physicians rather than adding to their clinical burden and delivers the right information in the right form at the right time, according to Khanna.

“We are eager for the healthcare sector to take what we’ve done, to adapt and re-use it, to develop and test it even further, and to innovate and improve on it.”

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