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IOM report calls for cultural transformation of attitudes toward pain and its prevention and management
Date:6/29/2011

WASHINGTON Every year, at least 116 million adult Americans experience chronic pain, a condition that costs the nation between $560 billion and $635 billion annually, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Much of this pain is preventable or could be better managed, added the committee that wrote the report.

The committee called for coordinated, national efforts of public and private organizations to create a cultural transformation in how the nation understands and approaches pain management and prevention. Some of the recommended changes can be implemented by the end of 2012 while others should be in place by 2015 and maintained as ongoing efforts.

"Given the large number of people who experience pain and the enormous cost in terms of both dollars and the suffering experienced by individuals and their families, it is clear that pain is a major public health problem in America," said committee chair Philip Pizzo, dean, Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor of Pediatrics, and professor of microbiology and immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. "All too often, prevention and treatment of pain are delayed, inaccessible, or inadequate. Patients, health care providers, and our society need to overcome misperceptions and biases about pain. We have effective tools and services to tackle the many factors that influence pain and we need to apply them expeditiously through an integrated approach tailored to each patient."

A new analysis undertaken as part of the study finds that the medical costs of pain care and the economic costs related to disability days and lost wages and productivity amount to at least $560 billion to $635 billion annually. Because the range does not include costs associated with pain in children or military personnel, it is a conservative estimate.

Health care providers, insurers, and the public need to understand that although pain is universal, it is experie
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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