Hospital Spotlight: Henry Ford Health System Initiates Multidisciplinary Approach to Reduce Opioid Use

Posted on October 05, 2018

Hospital SpotlightThe influx of prescription opioid abuse is well documented. In fact, it is virtually impossible to open a newspaper or turn on the television today without seeing something about the opioid epidemic.

Over 33,000 Americans died because of an opioid overdose in 2015, and Michigan currently ranks No. 10 in the U.S. for opioid abuse.

In 2016, Henry Ford Health System initiated a multidisciplinary approach across the entire continuum of care to reduce opioid prescriptions over a three-year period.

Henry Ford also recognized that it needed to not only work to curb opioid use, but learn how to appropriately manage patients’ acute and chronic pain.

An internal opioid task force was formed to tackle these issues, and the Management of Pain Guide to the Safe Opioid Prescribing for Acute, Subacute, Chronic Non-Cancer and Perioperative Pain Therapy was subsequently created.

The educational booklet was shared at systemwide meetings and on the Henry Ford website. It features pain management guidelines, educational programs for providers and staff, and provider-specific analytic reports to reduce opioid prescribing. The reports highlight individual prescribing patterns, which can help with ongoing evaluation and performance improvement.

“Our effort to curb opioid use really blossomed into a large systemwide initiative,” said Michelle B. Schreiber, MD, senior vice president and chief quality officer, Henry Ford. “Because of our work, we achieved a 5 percent reduction in opioids in 2017, which equates to nearly 401,000 pills and patches fewer prescribed than the previous year.”

In addition, Henry Ford standardized patient protocols to include opioid and pain assessment and urine toxicology screenings. Henry Ford also continues to develop alternative therapies for pain management, such as acupuncture and physical therapy, and provides various locations across the Metro Detroit area to safely dispose of prescription medications.

Henry Ford has demonstrated that it can make a difference in curbing opioid abuse by standardizing clinical practices and promoting transparency within its organization. Overall, a commitment to confront the opioid crisis and provide better pain management practices can improve the overall culture and safety for all.

This article was featured in the MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact Ashley Sandborn, MHA Keystone Center communications specialist.


  • Hospital Spotlight: Henry Ford Health System Initiates Multidisciplinary Approach to Reduce Opioid Use

Tags: MHA Keystone Center, opioids, Henry Ford Health System

Posted in: Patient Safety and Quality

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