Newswise — An electronic prescription accountability program for physicians tracking the number of opioid prescriptions per provider may help institutions identify areas for training and education to prevent overprescribing, according to research from the University of California, Irvine. 

Wei-Chen Lin, Louis Lu, Bobak Koohian, Jila Rouhi, and Shalini Shah received a Resident/Fellow Travel Award for their abstract of the study, “Overprescribed: Combating the Opioid Epidemic With Creation of an Institutional Electronic Prescription Drug Accountability Program,” which will be presented on Friday, November 15, 2019, during the 18th Annual Pain Medicine Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Understanding why providers may under- or overprescribe opioid drugs may be one way to combat the United States’ opioid crisis, but few healthcare systems have tools to measure this information. Lin and colleagues developed an institutional electronic prescription drug accountability program to keep track of inpatient opioid prescribing among hospitalists, primary care physicians, and emergency department physicians.

The tool tracks the per-provider number of opioid prescriptions written and enables the researchers to calculate proportion of opioid to multimodal analgesics and morphine milligram equivalent prescribed per patient. The data are deidentified and shared with institutional managers and leaders for use in developing educational programs and practice feedback interventions for safe opioid prescribing strategies.

As the data are assessed over time, the findings will help institutions understand how to monitor safe opioid prescribing at a granular level and provide meaningful practice change opportunities for physicians. It may also provide insights into providers’ motivations and reasonings behind their opioid prescribing patterns.

“This initiative was greatly welcomed by our physicians as we realized that peer-to-peer comparison is one of the most effective ways to instill changes in physician prescribing behaviors and potentially improve health outcomes,” the authors wrote.

The 18th Annual Pain Medicine Meeting will be held November 14–16, 2019, in New Orleans, LA. The conference brings together national and international experts in pain medicine to offer translational and clinical information that pain practitioners can implement directly in practice.