Genesis promotes patient education, advocacy to battle opioid addiction

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Genesis Health Systems has informative signs in place to make sure patients do not fall victim to addictive drugs.

Dr. Brittany Price, and other doctors at Genesis, deal with all types of pain.

"From chest pain and headaches to chronic pain, to falls, to injuries, to broken bones." Dr. Price said. "We can see anything."

But Dr. Price also sees the pain that comes with addiction. Now, Genesis is posting signs (right) in waiting areas and exam rooms to educate patients before they walk into the doctor's exam room.

Dr. Ryan Taylor is a physician at the Spine and Joints Clinic in Bettendorf.  Dealing with the most common sources of pain, Dr. Taylor has the option to prescribe his patients opioids. Almost always, he keeps the prescriptions short and temporary.

The signs list common names of opioids and encourages patients to ask questions like:

  • Am I at risk for addiction?
  • Will something else work?
  • How long will I be taking them?
  • Are you prescribing the lowest possible dose?
  • What's the plan to taper me off?

"It’s our job to educate our patients." Dr. Taylor said. Now, he hopes the new signs will make patients ask their own questions and take responsibility for their health.

Dr. Taylor said the patient-doctor relationship has changed.

"It's not a 'This is what you're going to take. I'm going to tell you how to do it.' It's 'Here are some options, and I want you to be educated about your options' and then we make a decision together," Dr. Taylor said.

"The patient is able to see if that is really something that would be helpful for them," Dr. Price said. "And participate in shared decision making. That I can offer options to them."

An open dialogue is crucial if doctors want to avoid the possibility of addiction.

"I think we're now starting to see over the last few years - as we've had this opioid problem - we're seeing that positive impact of awareness now," Dr. Taylor said.

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