GLENVIEW, Ill., April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) kicks off its 29th year of serving pain physicians and their treatment teams, Lynn R. Webster, MD, its newly elected president, said he hopes to make bold advances in helping the 100 million Americans that are suffering with pain.
"Pain affects more people than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined," Webster said, citing the Institute of Medicine's 2011 report: Relieving Pain in America, A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research. "That means there are vast needs - people needlessly suffering - and as leading experts in pain care, the Academy can make a difference."
Many of the Academy's strategic goals are based on the findings from the IOM Report on pain. Dr. Webster seeks to lead the Academy to make great strides during the coming year in several key areas:
- Educating physicians and patients about safe prescribing and use of pain medications, when they are appropriate,
- Improving the health care delivery system so that comprehensive treatment is available to patients with chronic pain, and
- Investigating new treatments that are more effective and safer than current options.
"The American Academy of Pain Medicine alone is uniquely positioned to effectively make a difference in these key areas," Dr. Webster said. "We have the leaders, the science and the reach to effectively lead the medical community and society, for that matter, in safer and more effective pain care."
Webster was instrumental in leading the development of the Academy's Safe Opioid Prescribing program that was rolled out in 2012. The program is founded on eight safe opioid prescribing principles that were implemented by the Utah Department of Health from 2007-2010. During that time, unintentional overdoses across the state declined by 28 percent. The Academy will continue to seek to educate clinicians and patients about these evidence-based principles in order to save lives.
Webster also cited legislative and administrative preventative measures, including extending tamper-resistant requirements to generic drugs, as well as the imperative for better research and data aimed at understanding how non-pharmaceutical factors contribute to and mitigate pain.
Regarding payor systems, Webster said the appropriate treatments patients require and those covered by payors must be reconciled. The Academy is calling for a national dialog to determine minimum guaranteed benefits and a multi-disciplinary clinical approach that recognizes the interdependency of treatment methods.
"Ultimately, organized medicine needs to find a replacement for opioids as a pain treatment method. But, to get there, we must accept the psychological, emotional, social influences on pain and make room for evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies to treat pain effectively," Webster said. "This will require more research as well as systemic changes, particularly in specific services that payors offer. Because every American eventually will be touched by the misery of disabling, life-altering pain, deferring action is not an option," Webster said.
The American Academy of Pain Medicine is the premiere medical association for pain physicians and their treatment teams with over 2,400 members. Now in its 29th year of service, the Academy's mission is to optimize the health of patients in pain and eliminate it as a major public health problem by advancing the practice and specialty of pain medicine through education, training, advocacy and research. Information is available on the Academy's website at www.painmed.org.
SOURCE American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM)