65% of ED physicians prescribe more opioids than they think they do

A majority of emergency department physicians — 65 percent — underestimated how often they prescribed opioids to patients, a study published in Academic Emergency Medicine found.

For the study, researchers surveyed 109 emergency medicine physicians at four hospital EDs. The surveys focused on the physicians' perceptions of their own opioid prescribing patterns in comparison to their peers.

Here are four study findings:

1. Participants discharged 119,428 patients and wrote 75,203 prescriptions.

2. Around 20 percent, 15,124 prescriptions were opioid prescriptions.

3. The researchers showed physicians their actual prescribing patterns. Six months later, those with inaccurate self-perceptions had 2.1 fewer opioid prescriptions per 100 patients on average.

4. One year after seeing their actual prescribing patterns, physicians with inaccurate self-perceptions had 2.2 percent fewer prescriptions per 100 patients.

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