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Cross Disciplinary Role Agreement is Needed When Coordinating Long-Term Opioid Prescribing for Cancer: a Qualitative Study.
Giannitrapani KF, Silveira MJ, Azarfar A, Glassman PA, Singer SJ, Asch SM, Midboe AM, Zenoni MA, Gamboa RC, Becker WC, Lorenz KA. Cross Disciplinary Role Agreement is Needed When Coordinating Long-Term Opioid Prescribing for Cancer: a Qualitative Study. Journal of general internal medicine. 2021 Jul 1; 36(7):1867-1874.
Cancer pain is highly prevalent and often managed in primary care or by oncology providers in combination with primary care providers.
To understand interdisciplinary provider experiences coordinating opioid pain management for patients with chronic cancer-related pain in a large integrated healthcare system.
We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with interdisciplinary providers in two large academically affiliated VA Medical Centers and their associated community-based outpatient clinics. Participants included primary care providers (PCPs) and oncology-based personnel (OBPs).
We deductively identified 94 examples of care coordination for cancer pain in the 20 interviews. We secondarily used an inductive open coding approach and identified themes through constant comparison coming to research team consensus.
Theme 1: PCPs and OBPs generally believed one provider should handle all opioid prescribing for a specific patient, but did not always agree on who that prescriber should be in the context of cancer pain. Theme 2: There are special circumstances where having multiple prescribers is appropriate (e.g., a pain crisis). Theme 3: A collaborative process to opioid cancer pain management would include real-time communication and negotiation between PCPs and oncology around who will handle opioid prescribing. Theme 4: Providers identified multiple barriers in coordinating cancer pain management across disciplines.
Our findings highlight how real-time negotiation about roles in opioid pain management is needed between interdisciplinary clinicians. Lack of cross-disciplinary role agreement may result in delays in clinically appropriate cancer pain management.