Survey: Hospitals Shift Resources to Respond to Opioid Crisis

Prescriber education, prescription monitoring technology, and pain management alternatives are among the methods hospitals are using to combat the opioid crisis, according to a new survey released by Vizient.

The survey of more than 90 member hospital and health system leaders found that 64% of hospitals have increased investment in opioid medication management in the last 12 months. The most commonly implemented programs cited by respondents included:

  • Prescriber education (78%)
  • New technologies to monitor prescribing (56%)
  • New alternatives for acute pain management (54%)
  • Prescriber limits on dosage/quantities (44%)
  • Safe disposal of old medications (43%)
  • Opioid stewardship program (33%)

Dosage guidelines for acute care patients upon discharge have received the best reviews with 74% of those from facilities that have implemented them. Staff who adopted the new guidelines said the new rules were extremely or very effective. Adding new staff to help manage the opioid epidemic (67 %) and new technologies to monitor opioid prescribing (50%) were the next two most effective methods.

The survey also found that hospitals were being forced to reallocate resources to deal with the opioid crisis. Nearly 48% of respondents see patients who show drug-seeking measures multiple times per day, daily, or nearly every day, while 78% of respondents said the opioid crisis has not affected their ability to serve patients. Also, 29% of respondents said the increased volume of opioid-related admissions is causing longer wait times for all patients.