Opioid-related deaths: Massachusetts / Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Opioid use disorder and opioid-related overdoses continue to devastate communities and families across the U.S. In Massachusetts last year, the severity of the crisis prompted policymakers to enact legislation to set limits on clinical opioid prescription and to establish screening systems to identify high-risk individuals.

To support this legislation and develop additional best practices, Partners created the Opioid Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the Brigham Comprehensive Opioid Response and Education (B-CORE) program at BWH.

A major component of this initiative has been the development of new functionality in Partners eCare to help providers document a patient’s history with opioids, educate patients about potential risks associated with opioid use and evaluate a patient’s risk factors for developing a substance use disorder.

BWH providers can use these tools to easily view opioid-related patient information and compliance requirements as well as document patient conversations regarding the appropriate use of prescription opioids.

Safe opioid-prescribing practices are fundamental to mitigating opioid abuse in our community, said Scott Weiner, MD, MPH, of the Department of Emergency Medicine and director of B-CORE.

“This crisis is affecting the entire country, and Massachusetts is definitely no exception,” said Weiner, who presented on the topic at the BWH Town Meeting on May 25. “As a group, we spent a lot of time thinking about how we can make opioid prescribing more uniform and evidence-based across the institution. We found that there are a lot of ways that Epic can help us achieve this.”

Partners’ Opioid Steering Committee, along with hospital leadership, continues to identify ways to support providers in managing medications, educating patients and safely treating acute pain. Partners and Brigham Health are also working closely with local communities and the state government to treat and prevent addiction.

Learn more at partnersecare.partners.org/opioid.