Monday, September 25, 2017

Joint Commission Pain Management Standard update for Greater Clarity on Recommendations to Acupuncture and other Non-Pharmacological Pain Relief Therapies


key words:  pain management, acupuncture, nonpharm pain relief therapy, working as a team, joint commission, state and federal programs, research

The new Joint Commission Pain Management Standard will be officially implemented Jan.1st, 2018 for any accredited facility.  These new standards were developed through a multi-year vigorous review process.  According to this source, the new pain management guidelines include:

1.  Facility (hospital) has a pain management leadership team which monitors performance improvement activities and is "responsible for pain management and safe opioid prescribing".

2.  Facility provides non-pharmacological pain management therapies (such as acupuncture/East Asian medicine, chiropractic, yoga, physical therapy, health psychology/MBSR, massage therapy) by qualified, licensed practitioners

3.  Facility provides staff and licensed independent practitioners (LIPs) "with educational resources and programs to improve pain assessment, pain management, and the safe use of opioid medications based on the identified needs of its patient population."

Related Story, Field-forwarding Leadership (update from Jan 2018)
Arya Nielsen, PhD, is one of the leaders in this Pain Management Standard update.  Read her story of perseverance and success in updating the Joint Commission's Pain Management Standard in the Duke University Leadership Program in Integrative Medicine newsletter (Jan 2018).
"Dr. Arya Nielsen exemplifies this type of grassroots leader, and we owe her a great debt for leading us through this important change for the fields of integrative medicine and pain management."  
The Joint Commission is the most influential organization in setting hospital practice standards in the U.S.  Read Dr. Nielsen's inspiring story.

Related blogposts:



Duke University Integrative Leadership Program notes the following related references on management of Chronic Pain with Integrative Medicine:

  • The April 2017 issue of the British Medical Journal focused on the use of integrative medicine (acupuncture, mind-body systems, dietary/nutrition interventions, and herbal medicine therapy) for 3 chronic pain conditions:  neck pain, back pain, and rheumatoid arthritis.  The article discusses some mechanisms of action and efficacy studies.
  • Primary Care:  Clinics in Office Practice published a special issue on Integrative Medicine (IM) with review articles about IM use in primary care settings for chronic pain and other conditions in June 2017.

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