A grant from the Indianapolis-based Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation will help the Indiana State Medical Association launch what the foundation calls a first-of-its-kind initiative in the state. The funding, totaling $230,000 will be used to establish a comprehensive medical education program addressing Indiana’s opioid epidemic.
The foundation says the program will focus on best practices for clinicians when prescribing opioids and treating patients who suffer from pain. The ISMA will provide opioid-prescribing courses to thousands of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses throughout the state. The program will use content developed with partners including the Indiana Hospital Association, specialty societies and various health systems.
"If we’re going to address Indiana’s rising opioid epidemic, we have to focus not only on treatment, but also on prevention," said Claire Fiddian-Green, chief executive officer of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. "By empowering clinicians with the knowledge they need to prescribe judiciously and connect patients with non-opioid pain management tools, we can help curb high prescription drug rates and stem the tide of opioid misuse that continues to devastate Hoosier families and communities."
The training will be free for health providers through the end of 2018. The ISMA plans to use mobile technology to help deliver the program, such as a mobile app, on-demand podcasts and live webinars, which will remain online for those who cannot view the live presentation.
The program comes after the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation requiring all doctors who receive at least two hours of training on opioid prescription practices every two years. The foundation says the use of mobile technology will benefit those physicians who may not have the time to attend classes in person.