Can a pain management and palliative care curriculum improve the opioid prescribing practices of medical residents?
GROUND: Although opioids are central to acute pain management, numerous studies have shown that many physicians prescribe them incorrectly, resulting in inadequate pain management and side effects. We assessed whether a case-based palliative medicine curriculum could improve medical house staff opioid prescribing practices. DESIGN: Prospective chart review of consecutive pharmacy and billing records of patients who received an opioid during hospitalization before and after the implementation of a curricular intervention, consisting of 10 one-hour case-based modules, including 2 pain management seminars. MEASUREMENTS: Consecutive pharmacy and billing records of patients who were cared for by medical residents (n = 733) and a comparison group of neurology and rehabilitative medicine patients (n = 273) that received an opioid during hospitalization in 8-month periods before (1/1/97 to 4/30/97) and after (1/1/99 to 4/30/99) the implementation of the curriculum on the medical service were r