A Systematic Approach to Opioid Prescribing.J Am Board Fam Med. 2020 Nov-Dec; 33(6):992-997.JA
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Opioid misuse has become a national crisis. In response to the need for improved standards of opioid prescribing within medical practices, a university-based academic family medicine practice developed, implemented, and evaluated a series of initiatives to ensure appropriate opioid prescribing and support clinicians in the practice in providing optimal care.
In 2015-2018, the University of North Carolina Family Medicine Center developed and implemented a practice-wide opioid prescribing policy, created a controlled medication advisory board (CMAB), provided regular feedback to clinicians on opioid prescribing, and trained selected providers in management of opioid use disorder. The impact of these opioid stewardship initiatives on prescribing patterns, utilization of the CMAB, and provision of medications for opioid use disorder was evaluated using electronic health record data from 2015 to 2018 and chart audits.
Between 2014 and 2018 the opioid prescribing rate per 100 patient visits decreased by 31% and the rate of concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids decreased by 56%. The CMAB received 117 referrals between 2015 and 2018, 60% of which resulted in recommended revision in the treatment plan.
Safe opioid prescribing is essential to mitigate the opioid crisis. An evidence-based standardized protocol, coupled with support for providers and patients, can reduce prescribing and improve patient safety, thereby enhancing the comprehensiveness and quality of patient care.