Studies on the effectiveness of pain management have uniformly concluded that health care providers underestimate or undertreat pain. In the emergency department (ED) in which this study was conducted, physicians receive formal didactic and bedside teaching on pain recognition and management in order to heighten the awareness of patients' need for pain control. The purpose of this study was to determine if this outpatient pain management of patients with acute, painful conditions is better than that reported in the medical literature. In this prospective study, 110 adult patients who had an acute, painful diagnosis were telephoned 48 hours after discharge from the ED and asked if they felt their pain at home was well controlled. Patient satisfaction with pain control was higher (91%) than that reported in the medical literature. Also, pain medication was provided more frequently by this study's ED (95%). Education on pain awareness and treatment is a way to improve pain management.