STUDY: Patients Who Receive Prescription Opioids Are More Satisfied with Their Care

By Staff.

Patients with musculoskeletal conditions who receive prescription opioids are more satisfied with their care than comparable patients who do not receive opioids.

“In the current payment paradigm, reimbursement is partially based on patient satisfaction scores. We sought to understand the relationship between prescription opioid use and satisfaction with care among adults who have musculoskeletal conditions,” lead author, Brian D. Sites, MD, MS, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, wrote.

In a study of nationally representative data, 13 percent (2,564) of more than 19,000 patients with musculoskeletal conditions used prescription opioids. Among those who used opioids over time, moderate and heavy use was associated with greater likelihood (55 percent and 43 percent, respectively) of being most satisfied, compared to single or no use of opioids.

Although opioids may be expected to offer patients with musculoskeletal conditions improved pain control, patients taking opioids in this study had more pain and worse health and disability than those taking limited or no opioids, suggesting a more complex picture.

As clinician compensation is increasingly linked to patient satisfaction, and as the United States struggles with an epidemic in opioid use, the authors suggest it is imperative to determine whether improved satisfaction with care is associated with demonstrable health benefits.

Dr. Sites’ study, Prescription Opioid Use and Satisfaction With Care Among Adults With Musculoskeletal Conditions, is published in the American Academy of Family Physicians’ journal, Annals of Family Medicine.