A message from the Alberta Medical Association President
July 2018

Dear albertapatients member:

Every so often we ask albertapatients about topics that haven’t necessarily been raised in the community, but that have implications for health care and are very big in the public eye.

In our last survey, we brought you the topics of opioid prescribing and the use of medical marijuana. More than 2,100 of you kindly participated and thank you so much for your continued support.

The results were very interesting and you’ll find them below. We plan to share these with the Board of the Alberta Medical Association and physician specialty groups who do a lot of prescribing for chronic pain. We’ll also send the information to Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta and the Health Quality Council of Alberta, who all have different roles in the system and share an interest in patient well being.

We also anticipate doing a news release on the results because we think you have provided a fresh perspective for the public in the daily supply of news coverage on these opioids and medical marijuana.

albertapatients.ca is now one of the largest research panels of its kind in the country and becoming better known all the time. It’s because of you, the members, who sign up and stay and contribute. We’ll be back to you soon with some interesting survey work to help the AMA Board of Directors in its health reform work this year.
I wish all of you a wonderful summer season. Have fun, be safe and keep tuning in to albertapatients.ca. Thank you, again.

Kind regards,

Neil D.J. Cooper, MD, FRCPC, Dip. Sport Med.
News from albertapatients.ca

In May, we asked albertapatients members about their experiences with opioids and marijuana for pain management. Please read on to the Did You Know section (below) for highlights from that research and a link to the full report.

We also drew our latest sweepstakes winners. (As you may already know, we hold monthly sweepstakes draws for five prizes of $200. All albertapatients members are automatically entered into each monthly draw, and every time you complete a survey, your member ID number gets an extra entry – an extra chance to win!)

The winners since our last newsletter are:

Monica H.
Mary B.
Clarissa V.
Elizabeth H.
Rita S.
Jo-Anne B.
Kathleen V.
Shelley W.
Valerie D.
Elizabeth C.

Sherwood Park
Medicine Hat

Care to be an albertapatients ambassador?
albertapatients is a growing community and we would like to welcome (many!) more Albertans. Would you like to be an ambassador? We’ve provided some tools to make sharing easy:

• Log in to our website at http://www.albertapatients.ca/, look for the 'Refer a Friend' box on the right side of your screen and click the 'More Info' link to tell others about us on social media.

• Visit http://www.albertadoctors.org/aprefer to request an email with information about albertapatients.ca that you can forward to your contact list.

• Email support@albertapatients.ca and provide your name and mailing address, and we will send you a small pad of albertapatients.ca tear-off sheets to give to your family and friends. (You may have received one yourself from your doctor’s office.)
Experiences with opioids and marijuana for pain management. Did you know?

Not all patients who speak with a doctor about using an opioid drug for pain management end up receiving a prescription.
One third (34%) of patients report that they or or another member of their household have spoken to a physician within the past year about using an opioid to manage pain. Of that group, just over half (56%) personally received an opioid prescription.

A similar proportion of patients are having conversations with doctors about medical marijuana, and not all of the conversations result in prescriptions.
Over one-third (35%) of patients report that they or another member of their household have spoken to a physician about medical marijuana within the past year, and 45% of those patients personally received a medical marijuana prescription.

Patients receiving opioid and marijuana prescriptions have some key demographic details in common.
Looking at combined demographics, requests and prescriptions for both opioids and medical marijuana are higher among middle aged Albertans and patients living with chronic conditions.

Read the full report (opens in a new browser window).

Closing comments

If you would like to make comments, share feedback, or suggest an area for further research, please Let Us Know.

Thank you for being a member of the community!

Do you have a question you'd like us to ask in a survey or a topic you'd like us to discuss?
Please share it with us!