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On June 5, the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) and its partners launched an opioid safety pilot in eight Colorado hospitals and three freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs). This initiative will be one of the largest opioid research efforts in the United States.
Colorado is at the center of the U.S. opioid epidemic with the 12th highest rate of misuse and abuse of prescription opioids across all 50 states. Colorado hospitals, especially the emergency departments (EDs), are in a strong position to reduce opioid administration. CHA and its partners are committed to improving the quality of care and the safety of patients in hospitals and health systems across the state.
CHA and its partners, including Telligen, the Colorado Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (CO-ACEP), the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and the Colorado Emergency Nurses Association, formed the Colorado Opioid Safety Collaborative and will oversee this pilot program. Pilot hospitals and FSEDs will implement the new CO-ACEP 2017 Opioid Prescribing and Treatment Guidelines with the goal of reducing the administration of opioids by ED clinicians. Treatment guidelines recommend the use of alternatives to opioids (ALTOs), as a first-line treatment for pain rather than opioids. A pilot program is necessary to gather data, establish best practices and determine the efficacy of using ALTOs for the management of acute pain.
“Knowing how I was treating pain in the ED and the potential for addiction after discharge led my colleagues and I to seriously think about how we could reduce patient exposure to opioids, while at the same time improve pain management,” said Don Stader MD, CO-ACEP board of directors, CO-ACEP opioid task force chair and emergency physician, CarePoint.
Dr. Stader, along with Swedish Medical Center pharmacist Rachael Duncan, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, developed and trialed the ALTO medication guidelines that clinicians will use for specific types of pain in place of opioids. Unlike opioids which are used for all types of pain, the ALTO technique addresses different types of pain such as kidney stones, migraines, back spasms, even abdominal pain, broken bones and dislocations, acute or chronic pain, using a specific, targeted approach to address the root causes of the pain. The Swedish Medical Center trial resulted in a reduction of opioid administration among ED clinicians and increased patient satisfaction.
Pilot hospitals include: Swedish Medical Center (Englewood), Boulder Community Health (BCH) and BCH Community Medical Center Emergency Room (Boulder), Gunnison Valley Health (Gunnison), Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland) and UCHealth-Greeley Emergency & Surgery Center (Greeley), Poudre Valley Hospital & UCHealth Emergency Room – Harmony (Fort Collins), Sedgwick County Health Center (Julesburg), Sky Ridge Medical Center (Lone Tree) and Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs).