Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 58-63

“Pressured to prescribe” The impact of economic and regulatory factors on South-Eastern ED physicians when managing the drug seeking patient


Center for Environmental and Occupational Risk Analysis and Management, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, US

Correspondence Address:
Giffe T Johnson
Center for Environmental and Occupational Risk Analysis and Management, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa
US
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2700.179454

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to elicit the opinions of Emergency Department (ED) physicians, currently practicing in the United States, regarding the impact of economic and regulatory factors on their management of patients exhibiting “drug seeking” behavior. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study, utilizing a convenience sample of ED physicians located in Florida and Georgia was conducted for a period of 2 months. The inclusion criteria specified that any ED physician, currently practicing within the United States, could participate. Results: Of the ED physicians surveyed (n = 141), 71% reported a perceived pressure to prescribe opioid analgesics to avoid administrative and regulatory criticism and 98% related patient satisfaction scores as being too highly emphasized by reimbursement entities as a means of evaluating their patient management. Rising patient volumes and changes in the healthcare climate were cited by ED physicians as impacting their management of patients exhibiting “drug seeking” behavior. Conclusions: The ED physician faces unique challenges in changing healthcare and economic climates. Requirements to address pain as the “fifth vital sign,” patient satisfaction based reimbursement metrics and an economically driven rise in ED patient volume, may have inadvertently created an environment conducive to exploitation by prescription opioid abusers. There is an identified need for the development of continuing medical education and standardized regulatory and legislative protocols to assist ED physicians in the appropriate management of patients exhibiting “drug seeking” behavior.


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