Case Study: Opioid Methodology


First in Nation Pilot With CDC Targets Opioid Epidemic

The Challenge

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed 12 recommendations to improve the opioid prescribing methodologies for providers, ensuring patients are aware of the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain. The CDC is focused on workflows that enable increased awareness surrounding opioid selection, dosage, duration, follow-up and discontinuation, and sought to work with select health care organizations to pilot the implementations of those 12 recommendations.

The Solution

Houston Methodist Center for Innovation quickly determined the most effective way to accomplish this was within the electronic health record. Leading a team with Epic, we designed a solution that made it easy for providers to understand the patient’s health history in the context of the treatment guidelines. To swiftly round out the implementation, the team partnered with Appriss Health, leveraging its existing prescription drug monitoring program and integrating the information directly into Epic.

The Pilot

Houston Methodist worked diligently to be the first of the pilot organizations to address all 12 recommendations within our electronic health records system.

The Results

  • Opioid prescriptions are trending down in volume, but the Center for Innovation is also looking to the increase in physician education as a measure of success.
  • The Center has built a repeatable process, and now Epic is sharing the code with other organizations. 
  • Our partners, ABT Associates, won a grant from the CDC to share outcomes.  

What's Next?

Our participation in the pilot is highlighting a growing opioid stewardship program within Houston Methodist. We are working tightly to gather in-depth outcomes, and currently are able to highlight the impacts of the 12 recommendations at a macro-level. Our future vision is to combine inpatient and outpatient data, work on alternate methods of pain breakthroughs (such as Virtual Reality), and continue to be thought leaders as we program out usability tools within our EMR workflows.