Anne Arundel Health System's opioid measurement EHR tool cuts prescriptions by 65%

After Maryland became one of the top five states for opioid-related deaths in 2017, Annapolis-based Anne Arundel Health System created a formula to measure opioid overprescribing within its EHR system, according to a Feb. 2 Baltimore Sun report.

Prior to implementing the EHR tool, the health system's physicians often prescribed more medication than a patient required or wanted because there was no official standard across prescribers and departments, according to the report.

To measure opioid prescribing and create consistency in prescribing patterns, Anne Arundel developed the measuring system within its EHR. With the guidelines, narcotics such as oxycodone and Percocet are converted into a standard called "morphine milligram equivalents," according to the publication.  

"It's like converting all the currencies to U.S. dollars," said Barry Meinsenberg, MD, chair of Anne Arundel's medicine department and head of the health system's opioid task force. 

The new guidelines have helped reduce opioid prescriptions by 65 percent since 2017, according to the report. Maryland's Opioid Operational Command Center has also included the EHR tracking method in its statewide list of best practices.

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