Viewpoint: Hospital-based physicians must share what they know to end opioid crisis

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

Hospital-based physicians have a unique opportunity to find programs and practices to prevent and treat opioid addiction in isolated pockets of the healthcare system, emergency medicine physician Rebecca Parker, MD, writes in The Hill.

Emergency physicians and hospitalist medicine physicians are looking into collaboration on best pain management practices for hospital patients and exploring how addiction treatment resources can start or be linked to community public health, Dr. Parker said.

"Unquestionably, clinicians across the healthcare system are delivering high-quality care to prevent addiction and to help patients and families who are struggling with substance use disorders," Dr. Parker wrote. "Yet we can do more to learn from each other."

Efforts including white papers, state- and federal-funded pilot programs and industry gatherings can further improve patient outcomes by letting clinicians share appropriate interventions, innovative pain management plans and effective behavioral health resources, she said.

Additionally, organized medicine associations are improving care by disseminating best practices to ensure clinicians can leverage their knowledge and skills to prevent and treat addiction. For example, the Society of Hospital Medicine's Reduce Adverse Drug Events related to Opioids guide provides protocols to help hospital medicine specialists implement safe opioid therapies.  

"Let's use every resource we have as medical professionals to put an end to this national epidemic," Dr. Parker concluded. "It is incumbent on us to break down the barriers between silos of the medical community and help clinicians work together to be part of the solution."

More articles on opioids: 
6 ways UC San Diego Health is fighting the opioid epidemic
Massachusetts hospitals get compliance guidelines for offering meds to opioid addicts
Opioid epidemic costs hospitals about $11 billion annually

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