More opioids don't equal higher patient satisfaction, study finds

Surgeons concerned that prescribing few opioids might hurt their patient satisfactions scores can breathe a sigh of relief, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Surgery, found that surgeons who prescribed their patients fewer opioids after surgery as well as those who gave them fewer opioids after surgery fared no worse in patient satisfaction ratings.

Researchers conducted an analysis of clinician satisfaction scores at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., during two periods. One period, period A, was before the implementation of an educational intervention that resulted in lower opioid prescribing, and the other, period B, was the period after the intervention was incorporated.

They examined 11 surgeons who performed operations on 996 patients, of which 407 underwent surgeries during period A, and 589 underwent surgeries during period B.

Researchers found that 90.2 percent of patients were prescribed opioids after their surgeries in period A as compared to 72.8 percent of patients who received opioids after surgeries in period B. Also, the mean number of opioid pills per prescription decreased from 28.3 in period A to 13.3 in period B.

Researchers surveyed patients from both periods and found that there was no difference in the mean clinician satisfaction ratings between period A and period B.

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HHS creates clinician resource for tapering patients' opioid use

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