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Qualitycast North: Safe opioid prescribing for chronic pain, featuring Dr. Shannon Douglas


Dr Shannon Douglas
In the latest episode of the Qualitycast North podcast, we learn about how Dr. Shannon Douglas is improving the lives of patients with chronic pain.

The Northern Health Physician Quality Improvement (PQI) podcast Qualitycast North continues with its second season. 

Dr. Shannon Douglas grew up in the Omineca area of Northern BC and has been dogsledding in the Fort St. James area since her youth. She now practices medicine in the same region and is the Medical Director for the Lakes Omineca region and loves the diversity of patients she cares for every day. This region includes Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St. James, Burns Lake, Southside and Granisle.  

Chronic pain is a debilitating, complex condition that affects more than 60,000 people within the Northern Health region, and many patients use opioids to manage their pain. In 2016-2017 it became apparent that opioid prescribing for chronic pain was contributing to the opioid overdose public health crisis. There was a need for improved processes for patients to access their medication in a way that was safe, timely, and evidence-based.  

Dr. Douglas initiated an improvement project aimed at redefining the way chronic pain patients were supported in primary care. She worked together with the local interprofessional team to create a new pathway and screening process that ensured prescription renewals became comprehensive care episodes. Changing the approach required self-reflection and challenging the status quo of 'the way it's always been done’. The project was successful, and patients enjoy the new approach, since getting medication can be challenging for chronic pain patients. Ultimately the patients are able to manage their pain in a safe and supported way, and many were empowered to eventually transition away from opioids. 

You can listen to the episode here: Qualitycast North Podcast.