Opioid prescriptions fall when hospitals lower EHR defaults, study finds


Hospitals can reduce the number of opioids prescribed to patients by lowering default prescription volumes in the EHR, suggest the findings of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers altered the default EHR settings for opioid prescription volumes at the emergency departments of University of California San Francisco Medical Center and Oakland, Calif.-based Highland Hospital. They changed the default volume of pills prescribed in each hospital's EHR every four weeks between Nov. 28, 2016, and July 9, 2017.

Researchers then analyzed trends in the 4,320 opioid prescriptions written by 104 clinicians during this time period.

They found a lower default opioid setting was linked to fewer pills prescribed to patients.

"These findings suggest that default settings in the EMR may influence the quantity of opioids prescribed by healthcare professionals," study authors concluded. "This low-cost, easily implementable, EMR-based intervention could have far-reaching implications for opioid prescribing and could be used as a tool to help combat the opioid epidemic."

To view the full study, click here.

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