A Multifaceted, Student-Led Approach to Improving the Opioid Prescribing Practices of Hospital Medicine Clinicians

Surafel Tsega, Gabriela Hernandez-Meza, Aislyn C. DiRisio;, Megan R. D'Andrea, Hyung J. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The development of guidelines for opioid prescribing, including those from the Society of Hospital Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been associated with changes in prescription patterns. However, many providers remain unaware of best practices surrounding appropriate opioid prescribing. Methods: The research team implemented a multimodal quality improvement intervention, led by first-year medical students, designed to increase clinician adherence to current prescribing guidelines for patients discharged on opioids. This intervention included an awareness campaign, educational sessions for providers, and weekly performance feedback. Results: A total of 4,993 discharges were identified in the baseline period and 4,811 discharges in the intervention period. During the baseline period, 12.3% of all patients discharged were discharged with opioid prescriptions vs. 11.4% during the intervention period (p = 0.165). Of these, approximately 60% were new opioid prescriptions during both periods (p = 0.991). The study's efforts were associated with a decrease in the percentage of patients discharged with opioid prescriptions longer than seven days (45.2% preintervention to 39.5% postintervention, p < 0.042); an increase in the percentage of patients with follow-up appointments within seven days of discharge (38.6% to 65.9%, p = 0.001); and an increase in documentation of prescription history obtained from the state Prescription Monitoring Program registry (32.5% to 39.7%, p = 0.042). Conclusion: This intervention provided a successful framework to engage learners in improving opioid prescribing practices. The results are promising, but the experiences highlight the significant effort and resources needed to change prescriber practices, potentially limiting sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-157
Number of pages5
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


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