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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Impact of the Opioid Safety Initiative on opioid-related prescribing in veterans.

Lin LA, Bohnert ASB, Kerns RD, et al. Pain. 2017;158(5):833-839.

Opioids are known to be high-risk medications, and unsafe prescribing practices are common. This intervention at Veterans Affairs medical centers used an electronic dashboard to provide feedback to clinicians about high-risk opioid prescribing. Local champions implemented the dashboard tool and spearheaded safer opioid prescribing. Using an interrupted time series analysis, researchers determined that the intervention reduced two unsafe prescribing practices: high-dose opioid prescriptions and concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines. The authors suggest that this type of large-scale intervention could be applied in other health care systems to enhance opioid safety. A recent Annual Perspective discussed the extent of harm associated with opioid prescribing and described promising practices to foster safer opioid use.