For instance, during the Sept. 19 hearing, the reference committee heard testimony on a resolution put forth by the Georgia and Massachusetts chapters that drew applause at its introduction. The resolution centered on eliminating the subjective measure of a patient's pain as the "fifth vital sign."
Matthew Burke, M.D., of Arlington, Va., a new physician constituency delegate, spoke in favor of the resolution. "Pain is not an objective measurement of human physiology," he said. "While we should all strive to control pain, this is an inappropriate distraction."
Alternate delegate Douglas Martin, M.D., of Sioux City, Iowa, noted his work in the area of occupational medicine and his experience with workers compensation claims. A patient will say his pain level is a nine out of 10, said Martin, even though the patient is able to carry on a normal conversation. "Function makes a lot more sense than pain" as a measure of illness or disability, he said.
District of Columbia delegate Kandie Tate, M.D., of Laurel, Md., expressed her concerns with total elimination of the pain score, however. "I'm worried we're moving the pendulum so far that we're not treating pain adequately. What would you replace it with, and how would you address pain?" she asked.
Connecticut alternate delegate Robert Carr, M.D., of Southbury, said the pain measures "sound good and feel good" but are not evidence-based and have unintended outcomes.
The Congress agreed and adopted a substitute resolution asking the AAFP to work to eliminate the classification of pain as a determinant of quality patient care.
Courtesy of Doximity