Mayo Clinic, Twin Cities Orthopedics cut opioid prescriptions with new protocols — 5 details


Golden Valley, Minn.-based Twin Cities Orthopedics and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., successfully reduced the number of opioids they prescribe by adopting new guidelines, according to CBS Minnesota.

Five details:

1. In 2017, TCO began tracking 3,000 patients and the opioids they were prescribed. The data was used to establish new prescribing guidelines for all TCO physicians in 2018. The guidelines included efforts to educate patients about non-narcotic alternatives and set a maximum quantity for opioid prescriptions.

2. TCO's new protocol was linked to a 61 percent decrease in opioid prescriptions and a 62 percent reduction in prescription strength. Safe disposal of unused medication doubled. Patients reported similar pain levels as before the guidelines were implemented.

"What happened was patients [were] allowed to feel the pain a little bit and understood it wasn't so scary and slowed down on their consumption," said Rachel Uzlik, vice president of clinic services at TCO.

3. Mayo Clinic also revised its prescription guidelines after a review of 8,000 surgical cases indicated a tier-based system could significantly reduce opioid prescriptions and refills.

4. Mayo Clinic implemented a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions across its emergency departments, and sent patients who were prescribed pain medication home with a narcotics disposal bag.

5. In July, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that the number of opioid overdose deaths in the state dropped 17 percent in one year, from 733 deaths in 2017 to 607 in 2018.

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