Coming Soon: Guide to Implementing CDC Opioid Rx Guidelines Within the EHR

By the Clinical Impact Subgroup, 
EHRA Opioid Crisis Task Force

CDC opioid guide image
National Health IT Week, we celebrate and take pride in the value that health information and technology has brought to patients and their healthcare providers. We also look ahead to new benefits that health IT can bring.

EHRA is committed to bringing together forward-looking experts from among our 34 member companies to collaborate on solving industry challenges. In 2018, we formed an Opioid Crisis Task Force to research and provide recommendations on ways EHR technology can help with solving the complex puzzle of the opioid crisis.  

One area that the task force has researched is how clinical practice guidelines can be operationalized to improve opioid stewardship in clinical practice. We’re excited to be in the final stages of creating a resource that we believe will aid healthcare organizations looking for  ways to support clinicians on the front lines of the opioid epidemic: CDC Opioid Guideline – Implementation Guide for Electronic Health Records.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which aims to improve the safety of pain management and increase patient engagement. Though this guideline is often cited by care professionals who treat pain, it is seldom and inconsistently utilized in clinical practice.

Clinical practice guidelines like those from the CDC are designed to yield better patient experience and outcomes, improve safety, and reduce unwarranted variation in care. Yet, despite the wealth of available clinical practice guidelines that are validated, published, and freely available, clinical adoption of guidelines is very slow—some studies show as much as a 17-year lag between the release of research that produces evidence-based guidelines and their common use in practice.

A major contributor to lack of adoption is the lack of content available in a provider’s electronic health record (EHR) workflow to support guideline utilization.

With the creation of this new Implementation Guide for Electronic Health Records, EHRA’s goal is to enable an organization’s healthcare information technology (IT) team to more rapidly implement the CDC opioid guidelines as EHR-based clinical decision support tools. In addition, the EHR developer community can use this implementation guide to steer future development of new products and services that can help hospitals implement these important CDC guidelines.

We’re eager to share this new resource widely. We’ve asked several stakeholder groups to review our draft guide, and we’ll be ready to publish as soon as we have their input.

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