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Journal Article > Study
Lin LA, Bohnert AS, Kerns RD, Clay MA, Ganoczy D, Ilgen MA. Pain. 2017;158:833-839.
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.
Journal Article > Commentary
Addressing the opioid epidemic in the United States: lessons from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gellad WF, Good CB, Shulkin DJ. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177:611-612.
Opioid medications are a known safety hazard, and overdoses of opioid medications are considered an epidemic in the United States. This commentary discusses US Veterans Affairs health system initiatives that focus on education, prescription monitoring, pain management, and use of guidelines to reduce risks associated with opioids.