The State of Pain Education in the US

Author: Kevin L. Zacharoff

Kevin L. Zacharoff, MD

Pain education in the US today unfortunately is warped. Whether coming from industry, whether from the Food and Drug Administration, it ends up being lopsided and very often to opioids, when opioids are just one piece of the management of pain. We need to do more to help it diffuse into the training programs so the people who are growing up in medicine right now are going to be like the 23 year olds of today who are instinctive about putting on their seatbelt. It’s part of their lives so they’re going to do the right thing.

There are glimmers of hope, and I actually think there is one that many people don’t see as a glimmer of hope. There’s a systemization of medicine that is taking place right before our eyes and the management of medical care is likely to become much more like a business. When businesses are managed it’s much easier to push mandates and requirements and certain educational metrics through the system. While I consider this systemization of medicine to have its good points and its bad points, the glimmer of hope I see is that systemization should lead to reproducibility. It should lead to frameworks. It should lead to outcome measurements and hopefully, at the end of the day it’s going to achieve better outcomes, which is what this should all be about in my mind.

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