Implementing Opioid Risk Reduction Strategies into Primary Care Practice

Principal Investigators

Jane Liebschutz, MD, MPH & Karen Lasser, MD, MPH



Project Contact

Julia Keosaian, Project Manager

Project Website

Grant Abstract

Prescription opioid misuse is a significant public health problem as well as a patient safety concern. Primary care providers (PCPs) are the leading prescribers of opioids for chronic pain, yet few providers follow standard practice guidelines regarding assessment and monitoring. We propose a novel system change in delivery of primary care services to decrease misuse of and addiction to prescription opioids for patients with chronic pain. We will build on the Chronic Care Model, primary care system change to implement guidelines for chronic disease (e.g. diabetes, depression) and ultimately improve patient outcomes. Our proposed intervention includes a nurse-managed registry for planning individual patient care and conducting population-based care for patients receiving opioids for chronic pain. We will refine tools within the electronic medical record to facilitate guideline adherence. These tools include validated instruments to screen for active substance use, depression and to assess pain and function, and will prompt clinicians to order urine drug tests. Finally, academic detailing to clinicians is another effective way to improve care. In these visits, trained individuals visit clinicians where they practice and provide them with information to change practice. The information given may also assist PCPs in overcoming obstacles to change. We will evaluate implementation strategies to integrate the best available evidence for managing patients receiving chronic opioid therapy for chronic pain into primary care settings. We propose a randomized controlled trial in 3 Boston federally qualified community health centers (CHCs). We chose to conduct the study at CHCs that could become a model for care at other CHCs as their roles expand to cover many millions of low income populations under the Affordable Care Act. Further, CHCs are in the vanguard of clinical sites adopting the patient centered medical home. We will randomize 56 PCPs to one of the two following conditions: intervention (nurse care management, registry, electronic decision support tools, and academic detailing) or control condition (electronic decision support tools). We will follow patients and providers in both conditions for 12 months after the initiation of the intervention. Our primary outcomes are PCP adherence to chronic opioid therapy guidelines and opioid misuse among patients.