Documenting and improving opioid treatment: The prescription opioid documentation and surveillance (PODS) system

Barth L. Wilsey, Scott M Fishman, Carlos Casamalhuapa, Asha Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To demonstrate that a computer-assisted survey instrument offers an efficient means of patient evaluation when initiating opioid therapy. Design: We report on our experience with the Prescription Opioid Documentation and Surveillance (PODS) System, a medical informatics tool that uses validated questionnaires to collect comprehensive clinical and behavioral information from patients with chronic pain. Setting and Patients: Over a 39-month period, 1,400 patients entered data into PODS using a computer touch screen in a Veterans Administration Pain Clinic. Measures: Indices of pain intensity, function, mental health status, addiction history, and the potential for prescription opioid abuse were formatted for immediate inclusion into the medical record. Results: ThePODS system offers physicians a tool for systematic evaluation prior to prescribing opioids The system generates an opioid agreement between the patient and physician, and provides medicolegal documentation of the patient's condition. Conclusions: PODS should improve patient care, refine pain control, and reduce the incidence of opioid abuse. Research to determine how PODS affects clinical care is underway. Specially, the effectiveness and efficiency of providing care utilizing PODS will be evaluated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-877
Number of pages12
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Adverse effects
  • Analgesics
  • Opioid administration & dosage
  • Pain
  • Pain measurement
  • Psychiatric status rating scales
  • Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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