When CoxHealth (Southwest Missouri) established a multidisciplinary team in January 2018 to respond to the opioid crisis, a subgroup under the committee was created specifically to lead the organization’s patient education efforts. The Education Task Force decided to focus on the highest utilizers of opioids in the health system – CoxHealth surgical patients.
A list of specific education topics – not just about opioids, but pain management as well – was developed by the task force (see below). CoxHealth deliberately decided to provide education to surgical patients through multiple mechanisms: pamphlets, videos and discharge instructions. According to Tina Tarter-Hamlet, RN, patient education coordinator at CoxHealth, “Not every patient learns the exact same way, so we felt a combination of educational approaches was important. Communicating information in different ways can also help reinforce key messages.”