March 4, 2020

Surgeons reduce opioid prescriptions using new multipronged strategy

Editor's Note

A system-wide, multipronged pain management and opioid reduction program significantly reduced postoperative opioid discharge prescriptions written for more than 5 days, this study finds.

Surgeon education, monitoring, and incentives lead to a shift from longer-term to shorter-term prescriptions for patients after surgery, reducing postoperative opioid prescriptions of more than 5 days by 64%, from 1,228 in the 3 months before the program to 432 in the first 3 months of 2019. Prescriptions of less than 5 days increased 15% from 5,133 to 5,923.

This multipronged strategy can serve as a model for other healthcare systems attempting to reduce opioid prescribing, the researchers say.

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