EHRA offers implementation guide for CDC opioid recommendations

The Electronic Health Record Association has released a new implementation guide for incorporating the CDC’s recommendations for prescribing opioids into EHRs.

In 2016, the agency developed and published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain including 12 recommendations to improve communication between providers and patients about the risks and benefits of opioid therapy.

According to EHRA, the CDC’s 12 recommendations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain—outside of active cancer, palliative, sickle cell disease and end-of-life care—apply primarily to physician, physician assistant, as well as advanced practice nurse prescribers of opioids who are making treatment decisions.

However, EHRA contends that the CDC guideline is seldom and inconsistently utilized in clinical practice.

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Senior male doctor with stethoscope in medical scrubs and holding bottle and tablets of the generic Oxycodone drug to illustrate opioid epidemic

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“One reason often mentioned to explain low adoption of opioid-related clinical decision support tools, like the CDC guideline, is the lack of content available within a provider’s EHR workflow,” according to the health IT vendor group.

To address this problem, the EHRA guide was created by volunteer members of the group’s Opioid Crisis Task Force, which was established in early 2018 to research and provide recommendations on new ways EHR technology can contribute solutions to help solve the opioid epidemic.

“It is clear from conversations we had with medical and public health professionals over the last year that the general availability of content, such as that published by the CDC, is not enough,” said Task Force chair Leigh Burchell.

“It needs to be presented to prescribers, in large hospitals and small physician practices alike, as they make care decisions," added Burchel. "This implementation guide will be of value to both technology vendors and provider organizations who are focused on delivering clinical best practices to physicians and other prescribers—at the point of care, within the EHR workflow.”

The EHRA’s CDC Opioid GuidelineImplementation Guide for Electronic Health Records is available here.

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