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A Sea Change to Confront the Opioid Tide

Geisinger uses a variety of approaches to combat opioid abuse with Epic

To confront the many factors that contribute to opioid abuse, Geisinger Health System realized that it needed a multifaceted approach. In an organization-wide change to pain management, Geisinger is using Epic to help patients and providers use opioids safely.

Education starts before surgery to help patients understand the level of manageable pain to expect, and alternative ways to ease pain without medications. Providers are then reminded in Epic to choose smaller prescriptions. A dashboard in Epic helps managers see which providers need a refresher on prescribing best practices.

Workflow and education changes combined with tools in Epic reduced Geisinger’s opioid prescriptions by half, notes Geisinger CIO John Kravitz. “This is a process change that has to occur with physicians,” he said at last month’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. “We are now working to integrate this multifaceted approach for reducing opioid prescriptions throughout our entire organization.”

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