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Case study investigating effect of implementing strategies for Reducing patient complaints in an outpatient pain clinic

Cheryl D. Bernstein, MD, Mohammed Khan, MD, Adeel Haq, MD, Nadia Olszanski, RN, Dawn A. Marcus, MD


This case study explores the impact of improving communication for reducing complaints in an outpatient pain clinic. A retrospective review was conducted for two 6-month periods prior to and for 6 months after implementing a structured communication strategy that included changes in staff behavior and documentation. Most complaints were related to not receiving opioids as part of the treatment plan. In the first treatment period prior to implementation, 6 of 3,653 patients lodged complaints. In the second period prior to implementation, 8 of 3,992 patients lodged complaints. Following implementation, 3 of 3,879 patients lodged complaints. Using structured communication strategies appeared to reduce complaints and facilitate chart documentation when addressing difficult patient situations including opioid issues.


communication, documentation, opioid

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