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Epic Outcomes

Preventing Opioid Dependency with Epic’s Perioperative Care Pathways

Vanderbilt University Medical Center cuts down on post-op stays and opioid prescribing rates

Using a comprehensive Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program in Epic, Vanderbilt University Medical Center of Tennessee reduced overall opioid consumption for post-op patients by 60%.

Many patients who become dependent on opioids do so as they’re taking the medications for post-surgical pain management. VUMC implemented an ERAS program in Epic to standardize care for post-op patients and ensure that their pain is managed safely while reducing risk of opioid dependency.

VUMC’s ERAS program takes a multifaceted approach to perioperative care—clinicians across teams track data in Epic including a patient’s fluid intake during a procedure, eating habits, and pain score ratings. The care pathway in Epic gives clinicians from all phases of care a single place to track the goals and outcomes of a patient’s care through surgery and recovery.

“You put all this together and you’ve got a good sense of patient trajectory, at a glance, across your entire patient list,” said VUMC anesthesiologist Dr. Jon Wanderer.

VUMC’s program resulted in patient care improvements beyond pain management, too. Twenty percent fewer patients need antiemetics for nausea after surgery, and colorectal surgery patients spend nearly two fewer days in the hospital.

Epic community members can learn more from VUMC’s XGM slides and audio and read more about their program on the UserWeb.