At M Health Fairview in Minnesota, combating the opioid epidemic means not only decreasing the number of opioid prescriptions, but also increasing use of alternative therapies to help patients manage their pain risk-free. After three years, M Health Fairview’s St. John’s, Woodwinds, and St. Joseph’s locations have reduced opioid doses for adult patients in the hospital by 43% and reduced total morphine milligram equivalents given to patients by 60%.
If a patient has multiple risk factors for oversedation, needs six or more as-needed doses of an opioid per day, or is receiving opioids classified as “high-risk,” a pain management pharmacy specialist is prompted in Epic to complete a comprehensive medication review and recommend medication adjustments or alternative therapies if appropriate. These alternative therapies might include additional lab monitoring, recommended specialty consultations, and patient counseling.
In addition to reducing opioid use overall, M Health Fairview has also increased prescriptions of naloxone at discharge by 500%, so patients can reverse the effects of a possible overdose.