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Better Prescribing for Opioids with Epic

Ochsner Health System guides clinicians to the right pain management for each patient

Ochsner Health System reduced opioid prescriptions by 26,000 and the number of emergency room opioid overdose deaths using tools in Epic and patient and provider education.

“It was not about less prescribing, but about better prescribing,” said Ochsner CMIO Dr. Todd Burstain.

With an opioid risk questionnaire built in Epic, clinicians see when a patient might be at a higher risk for opioid addiction based on documentation already in the patient’s chart. Based on the risk score, the strength of the medication being prescribed, and a patient’s mental health status, clinicians see suggestions for alternative therapies or additional interventions to help the patient follow instructions for opioid prescriptions. Ochsner also began prescribing naloxone for patients at risk of opioid use disorder.

After implementing these measures, Ochsner saw reduced opioid prescriptions, greater compliance with opioid prescription guidelines, and fewer opioid overdose deaths in the ED.

“We wanted to arrive at a happy medium where we were prescribing opioids safely and appropriately to the patients who needed them, and monitoring that on an ongoing basis,” Dr. Burstain said.

For their work on opioid stewardship, Ochsner received a HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award.