The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its latest Vital Signs infographic. You can use it to initiate conversations about opioid prescribing practices at your facility. At WSHA, we participate in performance improvement work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on opioid management. The strategy encourages the dispensing of naloxone with an overdose event in the emergency department. Likewise, we seek to partner with facilities to expand access to the medication-assisted therapy program, which also offers an evidenced-based solution to reduce harm from opioid misuse.
Additionally, WSHA and the Washington State Medical Association can provide educational materials for providers as well as coaching on opioid prescribing metrics and prescribing best practices.
Although opioid prescribing has been declining since 2015, prescribing practices remain variable across states, counties, provider groups and sub-specialists. Many other complexities also contribute to the opioid crisis, including synthetic fentanyl, limited access to alternatives to opioid treatments, and increased demand for detox and recovery beds. Providers and facilities at all access points have an opportunity to provide safer care and alternative long-term solutions to help. (Trish Anderson)