How EHR Use, Care Coordination Promote Safe Opioid Prescribing

An opioid roadmap recently released by CMS lists several strategies for reducing opioid overuse through prevention, treatment, and health data utilization.

An opioid roadmap recently released by CMS lists several strategies for reducing opioid overuse through prevention, treatment, and health data utilization. An increasing number of hospitals and health systems connect to state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) through electronic health record (EHR) systems, which provide prescribers with complete patient prescription histories. EHR systems can also help to promote safe opioid prescribing practices by streamlining communication between providers, care teams, and prescribers for better-informed clinical decision-making. One of the most commonly-used EHR functionality is computerized prescriber order-entry (CPOE). Through CPOE, providers must utilize standardized order sets to fill prescriptions. This baseline standardization ensures providers across care settings can access, view, and prescribe medications using similar terminology and values for more efficient communication between clinicians. EHR use also bolsters communication by allowing clinicians to engage in concurrent charting. "With concurrent charting you have everyone looking at the same patient at the same time," says Nurse and Director of Clinical Applications at HSTPathways Maura Dent Cash. "You can be aware of their pain assessment, their vital signs, what medication was administered, when it was — it's all right in front of you on the screen." Concurrent charting is especially important in the fast-paced ASC setting. Different members of the patients care team in the ASC setting — including anesthesiologists and prescribers — can communicate quantifiable values and indicators of pain more effectively and precisely through EHR systems.