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Physician Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice of Pain Management: A Survey of Physicians in Texas

Principal Investigator: Karen O. Anderson, Ph.D.

Survey studies have found that physicians consider inadequate knowledge of pain and pain treatments, limited training in pain management, physician reluctance to prescribe opioids and inadequate pain assessment in clinical practice to be major barriers to adequate pain control for patients. In 1994-1995 David Ralston conducted a survey of a random sample of physicians in the state of Texas who provide direct patient care. A majority of the respondents demonstrated knowledge deficits regarding pain treatment and were conservative regarding the use of opioids for pain management. In addition, most physicians who completed the survey reported concerns about possible regulatory sanctions for prescription of opioids. Both knowledge deficits and fear of regulatory sanctions were associated with physician reports of inadequate pain treatment for their patients. Physician reluctance to prescribe opioids and excessive government regulation of analgesics were ranked as top barriers to optimal pain treatment.

Specific Goals

  • To describe Texas physicians’ knowledge of appropriate pain treatment
  • To describe Texas physicians’ reports of their current pain treatment practices
  • To describe Texas physicians’ perceptions of their risk of regulatory sanctions associated with pain treatment
  • To determine current barriers to appropriate treatment of pain by physicians in the state of Texas
  • To compare the knowledge, treatment practices, barriers and perceived risk of regulatory sanction reported by Texas physicians to those reported by Texas physicians in the Ralston survey in 1994-1995
  • To compare the knowledge, treatment practices, barriers and perceived risk of regulatory sanction of Texas Pain Society members to the knowledge, treatment practices, barriers and perceived risk of regulatory sanction of physicians who are not members

Methods

Two samples of eligible physicians will be surveyed. The first sample will consist of a random sample of 688 licensed physicians in the state of Texas who provide clinical services to patients and who are not members of the Texas Pain Society. The second sample will consist of members of the Texas Pain Society, a professional group consisting of physicians who specialize in pain management. All of the members of the Texas Pain Society (approximately 200 members) will be surveyed.

Measures

The survey instrument is a modified version of the survey designed by Ralston (1995).

For more information

Contact:  Karen O. Anderson, Ph.D., at koanderso@mdanderson.org


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center