Integrated Pain-Psych Program Cuts Costs by 45%

By: Mitch Evans

Reading Time: 1 minutes

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Let's face two truths about heathcare costs in our country:

  1. We spend over $600 billion annually in pain treatment and resulting lost productivity
  2. The top 1% of 'high utilizers' account for over 27% of total costs

With these facts in mind, cutting costs by 45% from pain suffering 'high utilizers' is a big deal, and offers tremendous benefits to the rest of our healthcare system.

By integrating Pain Management and Psychiatric services for 'high-utilizer’ patients, Duke University’s Medical Pain Service was able to cut annual costs per patient from $16,000 to $7,000, according to Steven Prakken, MD at the American Academy of Pain Medicine meeting in Orlando.

Within the 'high utilizer' patient population, chronic pain and psychiatric needs are common, leading Duke's Medical Pain Service to structure in a way to effectively treat these comorbidities with an integrated care model. "To have that all-in-one physician's mind offers a much more optimal outcome," stated Dr. Prakken.

According to Dr. Prakken, "Intensive outpatient treatment can be effective with this difficult population, and this multidisciplinary clinic is a unique element of this."

For detailled analysis of the Dr. Prakken's presentation and the Duke Medical Pain Service, check out MedPage Today's recent article.

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