A Journey To Opioid Prescribing Reduction

The misuse of opioid prescriptions, heroin, and other synthetic opiates has led to a nationwide opioid
epidemic. Maryland is one of the leading states for overdose deaths and in 2017 Anne Arundel County
set a record for fatal overdoses. To stem the crisis and reduce the path to opioid dependence, Anne
Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), Maryland’s 3rd busiest hospital, undertook an opioid prescribing
reduction initiative and publicly committed to a 50% reduction in opioid prescriptions by 2019.
During the 18-month intervention period (January 2017 through June 2018), AAMC significantly reduced
clinical variability and achieved a 60% prescription reduction with no corresponding decrease in patient
satisfaction. To accomplish this, AAMC formed a task force staffed with key clinical leaders and
implementation personnel. After review of provider level data and best practice literature AAMC
implemented the following:

• Standardized the number of opioid prescriptions based on best practice evidence
• Standardized the number of opioid prescriptions based on patient feedback
• Educated patients and the community about pain management expectations and proper
disposal of medications

Key takeaways from this initiative include:
• Assign designated staff to ensure task completion
• Allow taskforce to evolve analytics over time
• Let data drive meaningful conversations with providers and service lines
• Utilize EMR tools to ensure smooth workflow and ease of operation
• Set measurable goals and monitor progress over time

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CHIME Opioid Action Center

710 Avis Drive, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Phone: 1.734.665.0000


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