Instructions for Using the Six Building Blocks and Completing the Self-Assessment Questionnaire

The Six Building Blocks provides a framework for improving the treatment of patients with pain, including the use of opioids. As a starting point, we recommend that organizations do a self-assessment to evaluate their current policies and practice using a level 1 to 4 self-assessment system. We highly recommend that this initial self-assessment is done in conjunction with a consultant or practice coach with expertise in the six building blocks who has worked with other organizations. This initial self-assessment accomplishes two things. First, it clearly identifies strengths, weaknesses and gaps in how pain is treated and how safely and effectively opioids are used as compared to the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Second, it helps the organization decide on overall goals, and identify and prioritize specific practice changes they want to make.

A common reaction to the self-assessment is that the magnitude of possible areas to address is overwhelming. However, we do not recommend that organizations take on more than they have resources or capacity to undertake. We suggest you select some high payoff areas, especially where patient safety is at risk. It is important that your clinical teams are part of the decision making process and the goals are strongly supported by everyone on the team. One component though is essential, that you have a robust system to first identify the patients and providers involved, and to track progress regularly where both leadership and the clinical teams review results and make continuously improvements.