Doctors Discuss Opioids, Pain Management, Prevention at Hyannis Symposium

HYANNIS – A handful of pain management and addiction treatment experts gathered in Hyannis yesterday to discuss the current state of the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts.

The panel talked about ways to improve patient outcomes for those addicted to opioids through expanded access and care.

John Donahue, the chairman and CEO of axialHealthcare, a Nashville-based pain medication and solutions company, says opioids are often prescribed on a first doctor’s visit, which can lead to dependency.

“One of the greatest preventers that you can have is to engage patients early and treat the underlying cause of their pain,” Donahue said.

Dr. Jason Yong, from the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says prevention is a large piece of the puzzle when it comes to finding solutions.

“We know that in medicine in general preventative care is cost savings,” Yong said. “But in this situation we have the preventative piece and therapeutic piece when people are having that problem how to best give them that therapy.”

Yong said treatment for pain management is multidisciplinary and multimodal. The different disciplines of physiatry, anesthesia, emergency, psychiatry and surgery come together to come up with a treatment plan for patients with pain.

Other panelists included Dr. Chris Gilligan, the assistant professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Mohammed Issa, the instructor in the departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Elizabeth Ann Stringer, the chief science officer for axialHealthcare.

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