MetroHealth cuts opioid prescribing by 3M pills in 18 months

Physicians and nurse practitioners at Cleveland-based MetroHealth prescribed 3 million fewer opioid pills over the past 18 months.

Efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions included the launch of  a Pain and Healing Center to provide opioid alternatives for patients' pain. The health system also relied on EHR alerts, which helped physicians identify patients who may be at risk of addiction and suggest alternative pain treatments. Healthcare providers licensed to prescribe narcotics also underwent extensive training to learn news ways of treating patients with chronic or acute pain.

Through these initiatives, MetroHealth providers reduced the number of opioid pills prescribed by 62 percent for acute pain and 25 percent for chronic pain.

"We've been tackling the opioid epidemic for a long time. Not until recently, did we recognize that providers can do a lot more," said Akram Boutros, MD, president and CEO of MetroHealth. "It was important for MetroHealth to step up and reduce the stream of opioids into the community, while also offering outpatients pain relief through other measures.Patients welcome the ability to have non-opioid potions available."

More articles on opioids: 

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