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Using m-health tools to reduce the misuse of opioid pain relievers

Abstract

Background Emergency department (ED) patients are among the many groups at risk for prescription drug overdose. There is limited research on how best to communicate with ED patients about options for pain management and the risks of opioids. The aim of this study is to pilot test a web-based, patient-centred educational programme that encourages the patient to have an informed discussion about pain medication options with their ED provider.

Methods This multisite, randomised trial will evaluate an m-health programme designed to aid the patient in making an informed decision about their pain treatment. Patients reporting to the ED with an injury-related or pain- related chief complaint who agree to participate are randomised to receive the intervention programme, My Healthy Choices, or an attention-matched control. My Healthy Choices pairs tailored education with a patient decision aid to describe what opioid and non-opioid pain medications are, assess the patient's risk factors for opioid-related adverse effects, and produce a tailored report that patients are encouraged to share with their doctor. Data are collected through surveys at three time points during the ED encounter (baseline, immediately after the intervention and just before discharge), and at a 6-week follow-up survey. The primary outcomes are whether the patient prefers an opioid pain reliever (OPR) and whether the patient takes an OPR.

Discussion We hope this programme will facilitate patient-provider communication, as well as reduce the number of prescriptions written for OPRs and thus the number of patients exposed to prescription opioids and the associated risks of addiction and overdose.

Trial registration number NCT03012087; Pre-results.

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