RIZE Massachusetts (Boston, MA)
GE Foundation, RIZE Massachusetts (RIZE), and Shatterproof, released the results of a year-long Massachusetts-wide project, “Opportunities to Increase Screening and Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder among Healthcare Professionals.” The goal of the white paper was to understand and identify opportunities to overcome stigmas that prevent certain healthcare providers from screening and treating patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) and close the treatment gap. The research found that stigma associated with OUD extends to the provider community, where a minority of providers are trained in addiction, find treating OUD satisfying, or want to work with OUD patients.
The project consisted of both qualitative research and a quantitative survey. Following review of existing research and stigma reduction initiatives, as well as focus groups with patients, family members, and health care providers, and a thought leader roundtable discussion, Shatterproof developed the 15-minute quantitative online survey. The survey was targeted towards the primary project specialties – Emergency Medicine (EM), Family Medicine (FM)/Internal Medicine (IM), and OBGYN/Women’s Health – as well as addiction specialists, pediatric providers, psychiatry providers, and social workers, as a point of comparison.
Key survey findings among respondents include:
- Only 1 in 4 providers had received training on addiction during medical education.
- Only 1 in 10 EM providers found caring for patients with OUD satisfying.
- Less than 50 percent of EM and FM/IM providers believed that OUD is treatable.
- Almost one-third of providers with more than 20 years of tenure tended to have a stronger preference for not working with patients with OUD.
- Almost half of providers felt patients would not be honest about their opioid use if asked directly.
- Less than one-third of EM, OBGYN/Women’s Health, or pediatric providers feel very prepared to screen, diagnose, provide brief intervention for, or discuss or provide treatment for OUD.
- Two times as many EM providers than any other specialty believe methadone treatment for OUD is substituting one addiction for another.
- 2 in 5 EM or FM/IM providers feel that treating patients with OUD takes away time and resources from other patients.
- More than 50 percent of Emergency Medicine, FM/IM, OBGYN/Women’s Health providers feel they don’t have sufficient access to behavioral health support to start patients on medication for addiction treatment.
These findings are consistent with those of the project’s qualitative work. The survey insights and learning were used to identify concrete opportunities for stigma-reduction programs and behavior change interventions across and within medical specialties, in order to increase screening and treatment of OUD.
Contact: Tabitha Bennett