BACKGROUND. Little is known about physician attitudes, goals, or satisfaction regarding acute postoperative and cancer pain management.
OBJECTIVES. To provide quantitative data regarding the status of acute postoperative and cancer pain management by Michigan physicians. To measure physician confidence, preference, and satisfaction as well as identify their pain care goals for acute postoperative and cancer pain management. To evaluate variability in acute postoperative and cancer pain decision making based upon physician demographic characteristics, knowledge, and attitudes.
RESEARCH DESIGN. A cross-sectional survey, which included two cancer and three acute postoperative pain vignettes.
SUBJECTS. A randomly-selected sample of three hundred sixty-eight licensed Michigan physicians who provide clinical care for acute postoperative and cancer pain patients.
RESULTS. The majority of respondents (>50%) reported providing acute postoperative pain care frequently, while a minority (<20%) reported doing so for cancer pain. The majority of the physicians (>75%) reported goals of at least adequate pain relief without distress for both acute postoperative and cancer pain. Physicians more frequently chose the optimal pain management response for men following prostatectomy (56.2%) than for women following myomectomy (42%). They also chose the optimal response for metastatic prostate cancer more frequently (16.3%) than for metastatic breast cancer pain management (10.7%).
CONCLUSION. These data highlight physician variability in acute postoperative and cancer pain management decision making. Further study of the physician variable is necessary to improve the management of acute postoperative and cancer pain.