HSS cuts opioid prescriptions by 500K in 18 months

Hospital for Special Surgery reduced the number of opioids prescribed by 500,000 in 18 months after launching a Controlled Substances Task Force, the organization said in a press release.

HSS is a leading provider of orthopedic surgery, which is linked to significant perioperative pain and risks of long-term opioid use and misuse. The New York City-based hospital launched the Controlled Substances Task Force in 2017 to standardize opioid prescribing and documentation among providers.

In its efforts to reduce opioid use, the task force has targeted three areas: educating patients and clinicians, changing opioid prescribing habits, and identifying and managing high-risk patients.

As a result, HSS implemented prescribing guidelines to reduce the number of pills prescribed at discharge and established patient-provider opioid agreements in all hospital service areas.

Through one-on-one education, the organization also helped overprescribing physicians reduce their average number of opioid prescriptions written each month by 27 percent. On a weekly basis, HSS identifies up to 30 high-risk preoperative patients and puts them on a plan to prevent postoperative opioid use complications.

Going forward, the task force plans to focus on the following initiatives:

  • Providing mechanisms to help patients dispose of prescriptions after surgery
  • Becoming a registered New York state opioid overdose prevention center
  • Continuing to educate patients and surgeons
  • Providing holistic support and opioid alternatives
  • Creating a post-discharge opioid tapering schedule for all patients

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