Joanna Norris, Associate Director Department of Public Relations (904) 620-2102
Department of Public Relations
On behalf of the Quality Collaborative of Northeast Florida, Dr. Yank Coble, director of the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at the University of North Florida, and Capt. Lynn Welling, Naval Hospital Jacksonville commanding officer, today announced the development of guidelines for treating chronic or recurrent pain designed to ensure patients get the most appropriate medication for their pain, while minimizing controlled substance dependence and abuse.
The Quality Collaborative of Northeast Florida, an initiative of the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at UNF, was formed last year and is comprised of 15 participating private-and public-sector health care organizations.
The abuse of prescription pain medication has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it one of the fastest growing drug problems. Naval Hospital Jacksonville, a member of the Quality Collaborative, will be the first organization to implement these guidelines in its emergency department on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“Substance dependence, abuse and misuse are especially prevalent in Florida,” said Welling. “While recent state legislation will help address the problem, the Quality Collaborative Patients First Initiative aims to address the abuse in emergency rooms throughout Northeast Florida. More importantly, it means leaders in medical and surgical care are collaborating across the region to provide patients with the most suitable medication for their pain.”
The voluntary guidelines, which may be modified to meet the circumstances of each participating facility, are expected to be adopted by participating health care organizations in the coming months.
The guidelines focus on the following eight areas:
“The power of this Patients First Initiative is that it captures the grassroots, innovative projects resulting from the collaborative efforts across the First Coast’s private and public sector health care facilities, public health organizations and academic experts in the Quality Collaborative of Northeast Florida,” said Coble. “The adoption of guidelines across our region to help ensure patients are receiving the appropriate pain medication while helping to tackle abuse is a very important step we are taking.”
Welling proposed the development of pain treatment guidelines in April during a Quality Collaborative Forum. As a result, the Rational Prescribing of Controlled Substances Working Group was formed to address the problem in the Florida region, bringing together organizations like Baptist Health of Northeast Florida, Brooks Health and Rehabilitation, Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at UNF, Duval County Health Department, Duval County Medical Society, Emergency Resources Group, Mayo Clinic Florida, Memorial Health Care, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Orange Park Medical Center, Riverside Spine, St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s Healthcare, Titan Emergency Group and the University of Florida at Shands.
The Quality Collaborative held its inaugural meeting in January 2010, hosted by the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at UNF and the Duval County Medical Society. Since that time, three initial Patients First projects have been adopted through the Quality Collaborative, including a Patient-Centered Caring Communication Course, hand hygiene guidelines and a pain assessment project.
The Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at the University of North Florida was founded in February 2007 with the mission of promoting global understanding and collaborative action to improve health and medical care. Center initiatives promote optimal health and medical education, supporting leadership development in the health and medical professions, and integrating local, state, national and global participation in advisory committees, forums, research and education.
The Center’s principal work is to convene public and private sector experts to collaboratively address current issues in global health and medical diplomacy. Center-sponsored conferences, committees and public forums provide an opportunity for leading experts (regional, national and international) to discuss issues in an open environment that facilitates evidence-based dialogue.
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