Each day, 91 Americans die from opioid-related overdoses. The opioid epidemic is a growing issue, and new and innovative approaches are needed to address it. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing that opioid prescriptions with higher pill burden were associated with greater probability of continuing to use opioids one and three years later.
We worked with partners in the emergency department at Penn Medicine to evaluate a change in default settings for the number of pills shown in the electronic health record (EHR) for new opioid prescriptions. Physicians were prompted to select from 10 or 20 pills, or opt out and type in another quantity.
The median number of opioid pills per prescription decreased significantly from 11.3 to 10.0 in one emergency department and from 12.6 to 10.9 in the other. The percent of prescriptions set to the default of 10 pills more than doubled from 21% to 43%.
Emergency Department, University of Pennsylvania Health System