In 2001, as part of a national effort to address the widespread problem of underassessment and undertreatment of pain, The Joint Commission introduced standards for organizations to improve their care for patients with pain. For over a decade, experts had called for better assessment and more aggressive treatment, including the use of opioids. Many doctors were afraid to prescribe opioids despite a widely cited article suggesting that addiction was rare when opioids were used for short-term pain. Education, guidelines, and advocacy had not changed practice, and leaders called for stronger methods to address the problem.
The Joint Commission announced the implementation of new and revised pain assessment and management standards, effective January 1, 2018, for its accredited hospitals. These new and revised requirements were developed through a rigorous research, evaluation, and review process. The new and revised requirements can be found on The Joint Commission website at https://www.jointcommission.org/standards_information/prepublication_standards.aspx.