Health Partnership Comes Up With Safer Opioid Prescription Strategies

Working in tandem, two medical groups—one focused on health records, the other on medical research—came up with a set of data-driven recommendations for preventing opioid abuse.

A new proposal being pushed forth by a pair of associations could help uncover a hard-to-find balance when it comes to safe opioid prescribing.

The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety—an organization convened by the ECRI Institute, a research firm that aims to set health best practices, as well as the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association—announced the release of a new whitepaper this week that recommends the use of measurement technologies that can improve monitoring of opioid prescription patterns, make the data accessible in electronic health records, and ensure that information is in place when an intervention is necessary.

The paper, ‌Safe Practice Recommendations for Safer Opioid Prescribing: Measures and Clinical Decision Support, aims to take advantage of the disciplines of the two groups in a way that maximizes their collective impact—but stops short of creating a new standard, instead aiming for a proof of concept that highlights the possibility for interoperability in the future.

“Both organizations agreed that the goal was not to create or act as a safety event reporting system but rather to bring together relevant data from multiple sources to inform strategies to address a high-priority safety issue,” the organizations said in the white paper [PDF]. “The fundamental focus is a proactive learning system using an approach that is neither punitive nor regulatory.”

In a news release, the groups emphasized their collaborative approach: EHRA brought in a number of experts on electronic health records, while ECRI dug into health IT data and conducted an analysis of event data from organizations focused on patient safety.

The research offers in-depth recommendations that medical professionals can gain from while highlighting the potential for future collaborations of this nature.

“The United States is in the midst of a deadly opioid crisis. It’s clear that EHRs and other health IT solutions have an important role to play in supporting providers in this complex crisis,” said Shari Medina, MD, who leads EHRA’s patient-safety working group and led the partnership, in the news release.

(smartstock/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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