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Impact of the New York State Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (IStop) on chronic pain management by primary care providers

Josiah D. Strawser, MD, Lauren Block, MD, MPH


Objective: To explore the impact of the New York State Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (IStop) on the self-reported management of patients with chronic pain by primary care providers.

Design: Mixed-methods study with survey collection and semistructured interviews.

Setting: Multiple academic hospitals in New York.

Participants: One hundred and thirty-six primary care providers (residents, fellows, attendings, and nurse practitioners) for survey collection, and eight primary care clinicians (residents, attending, and pharmacist) for interviews.

Interventions: Introduction of IStop.

Main outcome measure(s): Change in usage of four risk reduction strategies (pain contracts, urine tests, monthly visits, and co-management) as reported by primary care providers for patients with chronic pain.

Results: After the introduction of IStop, 25 percent (32/128) of providers increased usage of monthly visits, 28 percent (36/128) of providers increased usage of pain management co-management with other healthcare providers, and 46 percent (60/129) of providers increased usage of at least one of four risk reduction strategies. Residents indicated much higher rates of change in risk reduction strategies due to IStop usage; increasing in the use of monthly visits (32 vs. 13 percent, p = 0.02) and co-management (36 vs. 13 percent, p = 0.01) occurred at a much higher rate in residents than attending physicians. Interview themes revealed an emphasis on finding opioid alternatives when possible, the need for frequent patient visits in effective pain management, and the importance of communication between the patient and provider to protect the relationship in chronic pain management.

Conclusions: After the introduction of IStop, primary care providers have increased usage of risk reduction strategies in the care of chronic pain patients.


chronic pain management, prescription drug monitoring program, IStop

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