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YNHHS team advocates for safe, responsible opioid prescribing

In light of the opioid addiction crisis nationwide and a desire to improve pain management, Yale New Haven Health System is modifying how opioids are prescribed and administered. A team with representatives from all delivery networks is working to optimize opioid use and reduce the risk of adverse effects from prescription opioids by adopting a health system-wide standard of practice.

“Currently, the default route for injecting opioids across YNHHS is intravenous, which can increase the risk of adverse events, including nausea, low blood pressure, euphoria and addiction,” said Adam Ackerman, MD, Hospitalist Service, Medicine (EP 4-7). “Our goal is to increase awareness of nationally accepted best practice standards for pain management that are right for the patient and can help combat the opioid epidemic occurring nationwide.”

Dr. Ackerman said best practice standards remind prescribers to use multiple approaches to pain management, such as non-opioid medications for baseline pain control; or have opioids administered by mouth or under the skin (subcutaneously), instead of intravenously when possible.

“Yale New Haven Health’s effort not only addresses the opioid crisis, but promotes patient-centered care,” said Delinda Conte, YNHH Patient Family Advisory Council. “It follows a proven best practice to ensure safe and effective pain management while discouraging the overuse or abuse of opioids.” 

The opioid prescribing committee is providing education to physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and pharmacists across the health system that focuses on the benefits of avoiding administering opioids intravenously.