This curriculum focuses on providing a foundation for PA students and other pre-prescribers to navigate pain management in a world that relies increasingly on telemedicine. The training offered through this program will highlight the subtleties of working with pain patients through telemedicine, with an emphasis on mental health, and preventing the abuse and misuse of prescription opioids.
Through this seminar, students will:
- Learn the key differences between telemedicine and in-person care
- Understand how pain management may be affected by the global environment
- Learn to screen for a co-occurring mental health condition when treating pain
- Practice responsibly managing pain treatment with a patient through telemedicine
- Recognize resources that can help strengthen patient accountability and education
Don’t miss the “Choose Your Own Adventure” telemedicine simulation below to test your skills as a provider working with an example patient.
Meet the Faculty
PAs actively working in the fields of telemedicine, substance use disorder (SUD), and pain management developed this program content and presented the material at PA programs across the country. Their experience and expertise provide valuable insight into how to safely prescribe opioids when you can’t meet with a patient face-to-face. Click below to learn more about these faculty members.
Each of the tools below covers a different element of safe opioid prescribing. They may be watched in any order but have been arranged in our suggested viewing sequence.
The Basics of Telemedicine
Learn the basics of telemedicine and how it has become a vital tool for healthcare providers of all specialties.
Tips & Tricks For Telemedicine
Review helpful tips for virtual visits with this brief animated video.
Conducting a Physical Exam Virtually
Hina Mazharuddin, PA-C, demonstrates how to conduct a physical exam through video conference with our example pain patient, Ms. Jones.
Vital Minds Podcast: The Importance of Addressing Mental Health
Dr. Jill Mattingly speaks with guest host Shannon Jackson, PA-C, about mental health and why it is more important than ever to screen for this often co-occurring condition.
Dr. Jill Mattingly reviews the role of telemedicine in a pandemic and post-pandemic reality, and outlines key points from the previous sections.
Practice Your Skills:
A “Choose Your Own Adventure” Telemedicine Simulation
Learning about virtual pain management and practicing virtual pain management are two very different things! The activity below gives you the opportunity to step in as the provider for example patient Ms. Jones.
The encounter begins immediately after her physical exam as you begin to work towards a treatment plan. Use what you have learned about pain management, mental health, and telemedicine to choose between options at different decision points. Be sure to try it a few times to work through different storylines and outcomes.
If you have not yet watched the video “Conducting a Physical Exam Virtually,” please do so prior to beginning this practice activity.
Share Your Feedback
Treating Chronic Pain
- Allied Against Opioid Abuse
- CDC – CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
- CO*RE/ASAM – Pain Management and Opioids: Balancing Risks and Benefits Course
- NIDA – Opioid Crisis and Pain Management
- NIDA – Transitioning Patients from Opioid Therapy
Legislative and Legal Considerations
- AAPA – PA Prescribing Authority by State
- CDC – State Laws on Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse
- PDMP TTAC – PDMP Policies and Practices
- SAMHSA – FAQs About the New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines (updated 9/21/21)
Virtual Medicine Training Resources
- Caravan Health – Telehealth Physical Exam
- HealthIT.gov – Telehealth Start-Up and Resource Guide
- HealthIT.gov – Telemedicine and Telehealth
- PAs in Virtual Medicine and Telemedicine
- Stanford Medicine – How to Administer a Virtual Physical Exam
Questions about this program? Contact the PA Foundation.
The PA Foundation produced and is solely responsible for the content of this program. This project was funded through a grant by the AmerisourceBergen Foundation. Special thanks to the presenters and the coordinating team of the PA Foundation: Joanna Weston, MPH, project manager; Caroline Pierce, communications and program manager; and Lynette Sappe-Watkins, CFRE, executive director.
Shannon Jackson, MSPAS, PA-C
Shannon Jackson, MSPAS, PA-C, is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in the College of Health Professions at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA, and an inaugural member of PAs in Virtual Medicine and Telemedicine.
She has been a nationally certified PA for ten years, practicing in a variety of clinical roles including family medicine, internal medicine, and rheumatology. She has also worked as a health expert for chat- based telehealth platforms, and has provided virtual COVID-19 test supervision to patients across the country.
Jill Mattingly, DHSc, MMSc, PA-C
Dr. Jill Mattingly is the Program Director and Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in the College of Health Professions at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA.
Prior to Mercer, she was the director of operations and lead PA for Breakthrough Addiction Recovery in Norcross, GA. She serves on the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Fundamentals Program Planning Committee and conducts live ASAM Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine workshops nationally. She also serves on the ASAM Opioid Use Disorder Course Committee, and is a presenter for the Opioid Waiver Course for PAs and NPs nationally.
Hina Mazharuddin, MSPAS, PA-C
PAs in Virtual Medicine and Telemedicine (PAVMT)
Hina Mazharuddin, MSPAS, PA-C, is the vice president of PAs in Virtual Medicine and Telemedicine and the full-time lead clinician for Southlake Medi-Weightloss.
She has worked in multiple areas of medicine that include family practice, retail health, occupational medicine/outpatient orthopedics, pain management, aesthetic medicine, obesity medicine and now telemedicine. She served on the senior management team for a retail health-telemedicine clinic, and with that experience was able to implement telemedicine visits in her current obesity medicine practice.