Opioid Safety, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

We Need to Focus on Patient Safety to Battle the Opioid Epidemic: 5 Key Steps to a More Balanced Approach

Though much of the attention to end the opioid epidemic is centered on the improper use of opioids in the community (misuse, diversion, etc), the truth is that opioid harm exists across a continuum of care. The safe use of opioids begins with the safe use of opioid analgesics in the hospital setting and the prescription of opioids upon discharge of the patient from a healthcare facility. We must first and foremost make sure that opioids provided to patients are done so in a safe manner both during administration and upon discharge.

By Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Opioid-related deaths are a leading national and community concern. Unfortunately, reports of opioid-related deaths occur with astonishing regularity in our daily news feeds.

Though much of the attention on opioid-related harm is centered on the improper use of opioids in the community (misuse, diversion, etc), the truth is that opioid harm exists across a continuum of care. The safe use of opioids begins with the safe use of opioid analgesics in the hospital setting and the prescription of opioids upon discharge of the patient from a healthcare facility. We must first and foremost make sure that opioids provided to patients are done so in a safe manner both during administration and upon discharge. Read More

Must Reads

Patient Safety Weekly Must Reads (December 17, 2016)

This week in #patientsafety, we remember Leah Coufal, an 11-year-old girl who died after experiencing respiratory depression when she received fentanyl following a successful surgery. We also share an infographic showing the U.S. opioid epidemic by the numbers. From around the web, a study finds that clinician performance is the same when the volume of alarms is turned down, an article calls on pharmacists to lead efforts against the opioid epidemic, and an investigative piece calls attention to one company’s shady sales strategy.

Stay warm and happy reading!

From PPAHS:

Opioid Deaths Are (Still) Preventable: Remembering Leah. Leah Coufal died after experiencing opioid-related respiratory depression. We remember Leah on her death anniversary.

The U.S. Opioid Epidemic In Numbers. The PPAHS conducted a survey to gauge how clinicians and the public felt about the Surgeon General’s recommendations to fight the opioid epidemic. Advance for Nurses published an infographic summarizing our early findings.

From Around the Web:

Is It Safe to Turn Down the Volume of Hospital Alarms? New Study Chimes In: ‘Yes’. We wonder whether quieter alarms would have an impact on alarm fatigue.

ASHP Midyear: Pharmacists Can Take Lead on Addressing Opioid Crisis. Our survey found that most clinicians felt doctors should take the lead on addressing the opioid crisis. Perhaps pharmacists could lead it too?

Company gave doctor ‘one of the best nights of his life’ to boost fentanyl sales. Six former executives and sales representatives of one company were arrested following an indictment with allegations of bribery and kickbacks.

Opioid Safety

The U.S. Opioid Epidemic In Numbers

opiod infographic thumbnailOpioid safety is one of the top patient safety concerns in the U.S.; with more than 2 million Americans dependent on opioids, opioid-related harm is an issue that has spans the continuum of clinical and public safety.

On August 25, 2016, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic. On the Surgeon General website, healthcare providers are encouraged to help solve the opioid epidemic.

The PPAHS conducted a survey to gauge how clinicians and the public felt about the Surgeon General’s recommendations to fight the opioid epidemic, with results released early November.  Key aspects of the survey were recently featured in an article published by Advance for Nurses.  The Advance Healthcare Network also distilled the survey’s top data points and recommendations. Read More

Must Reads

Patient Safety Weekly Must Reads (November 18, 2016)

This week in #patientsafety, we shared our findings from our survey on responses to the Surgeon General’s letter on the opioid epidemic and put venous thromboembolism in the spotlight with a new partnership with World Thrombosis Day. From around the web, a mother penned an article about the tragic and preventable death of her son, Minnesota respiratory therapists are recognized for implementing a program to detect respiratory depression at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, MN, and the ECRI Institute released its top ten healthcare technology hazards of 2017 (undetected opioid-induced respiratory depression yet again makes the top five).

From PPAHS:

Physicians on Surgeon General’s Letter on Opioid Epidemic: Survey Results. In August, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic. We conducted a survey to gauge reactions to the Surgeon General’s appeal. Read More

Opioid Safety

Physicians on Surgeon General’s Letter on Opioid Epidemic: Survey Results

surgeon-general-turn-the-tide

On August 25, 2016, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic. On the Surgeon General website, healthcare providers are encouraged to help solve the opioid epidemic:

“Our nation faces an opioid crisis. Health care providers are uniquely positioned to help communities and their patients #TurnTheTide on the opioid epidemic. Providers can be the solution. Join the movement. Sign the pledge.”

To gauge whether clinicians would answer this call and how clinicians and the public felt about the Surgeon General’s recommendations to fight the opioid epidemic, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) conducted a survey to examine perceptions about the Surgeon General’s appeal to physicians to play an active role in stemming the opioid epidemic. Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Infograph: What Physicians Think About Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

We recently conducted an online survey to better understand what clinicians and the public think about how to solve the opioid epidemic. The survey was prompted by the recent letter sent by the Surgeon General to physicians in the US urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic. On the Surgeon General website, healthcare providers are encouraged to help solve the opioid epidemic – “Our nation faces an opioid crisis. Health care providers are uniquely positioned to help communities and their patients #TurnTheTide on the opioid epidemic.

More than 85% of the survey respondents were either a doctor or other clinician.

Here are two preliminary results about they thought about what is the major cause of the opioid epidemic and who should take the lead in solving it (please note: these are preliminary results of the survey, so final results may differ from these preliminary findings): Read More

Opioid Safety

Are You Pledging to Fight the Opioid Epidemic?

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. (United States Surgeon General) sent a letter to US physicians about the impact that the opioid epidemic has had on communities and asks for their help:

I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic. Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses. I meet families too ashamed to seek treatment for addiction. And I will never forget my own patient whose opioid use disorder began with a course of morphine after a routine procedure.

It is important to recognize that we arrived at this place on a path paved with good intentions. Nearly two decades ago, we were encouraged to be more aggressive about treating pain, often without enough training and support to do so safely. This coincided with heavy marketing of opioids to doctors. Many of us were even taught – incorrectly – that opioids are not addictive when prescribed for legitimate pain.

To help fight the opioid epidemic, the Surgeon General asks physicians to sign a pledge to educate themselves about treating pain, to better screen patients, and talk about and treat addiction “as a chronic illness, not a moral failing”: Read More

Must Reads, Patient Safety

Patient Safety Weekly Must Reads (September 16, 2016)

In this week’s Must Reads, we feature a guest post by Betsy Cohen, a Certified and Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor about her management program for medical errors. On the web, we focused on some great dialogue around cooperation across multiple stakeholders to ensure the safe use of opioids. Read More

Must Reads, Opioid Safety

Patient Safety Weekly Must Reads (September 9, 2016)

This week, we refocused our attention on the subject of opioid safety. Recently, the Surgeon General issued a letter to physicians urging them to take a part in combating the opioid epidemic.

In addition to bringing our readers the most topical articles and news from PPAHS and the web, we’ve also created a brief (2 minute – 5 question) survey to understand reactions to the Surgeon General’s letter. Please take the time to complete it here.

Read More