Researchers across the United States are studying ways to reduce opioid use. In the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, scientists are using evidence-based research to find the ideal dose for each patient, and examining where higher-dose prescriptions may be coming from. Now, one of the center's scientific directors, Elizabeth Habermann, Ph.D., has been named a member of the National Quality Forum's National Quality Partners Opioid Stewardship Action Team.
Dr. Habermann will work with leading institutions, physicians and researchers looking to combat what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called an opioid epidemic. In the last 15 years, the number of Americans receiving an opioid prescription and the number of deaths involving overdoses have roughly quadrupled, according to the CDC. More than 41 people per day died from a prescription opioid overdose in 2015.
The Opioid Stewardship Action Team will look at ways of managing pain while reducing opioid addiction. The group will release a “playbook” in March 2018 at the National Quality Forum's annual conference.
Dr. Habermann is the senior author of a study published in July in the Annals of Surgery that examined the prescribing practices after surgery at Mayo Clinic. The study, which highlighted a variation in prescribing within specific surgical procedures and among its three campuses, led to evidence-based opioid prescribing guidelines for several departments.
Dr. Habermann and colleagues are now surveying patients after surgery to see which types of patients are receiving excess opioids, and to determine how well they’re managing their pain.
Researchers in the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery also conducted a study that found opioid prescriptions written in the emergency department are written for a shorter duration and smaller dose than those written in other medical settings. That challenges a common perception, the researchers said.