Study results point to systemic nature of America’s opioid crisis

Aug. 23, 2019
Patients share view of pain management and opioid alternatives

Escalent, a human behavior and analytics firm, has published a study examining the nationwide opioid crisis through the lens of consumer attitudes. Partnering for a Healthier America paints a picture of the healthcare industry through the eyes of patients, translating consumer behaviors into actionable information and steps healthcare can take to address the crisis.

“Our respondents indicated a lack of awareness and access to alternatives to opioids as a pain management tool through the process of diagnosis and treatment,” said Jessica Bardsley, Vice President of Escalent’s Health Division. “Physicians, insurers and healthcare providers must work together to make these critical alternatives a realistic option for more patients.”

Key findings in the study:

  • 58 percent of those who experience chronic pain say their doctor has either never spoken with them about prescription alternatives or that they can’t recall their doctor having done so.
  • Over half (56 percent) of those using opioids to treat chronic pain say they would consider alternative pain management options even if less effective than prescriptions.
  • Patients are just as likely to consider alternative forms of treatment if they are recommended by their insurance provider as they are to consider such a recommendation from a doctor.

These attitudes and experiences illustrate a gap between patient interest in and access to alternative pain management options. Stakeholders throughout the healthcare industry have an opportunity to close this gap by offering support for alternatives in insurance plans, bringing them to patients earlier in the treatment process and prioritizing access to such alternatives in the delivery of care.