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Abt Associates Leads Opioid Quality Improvement Collaborative

In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (CDC Prescribing Guideline). Now Abt Associates, with CDC funding, has organized a collaborative of five healthcare systems in eight states to implement the guideline recommendations and use quality improvement (QI) measures to monitor implementation of the guideline. The collaborative also will refine the QI measures based on the healthcare systems’ experience to inform other systems’ QI efforts.

A critical part of the project are the 16 clinical QI opioid measures, which align with each of the CDC Prescribing Guideline recommendation statements. The QI measures are in the newly-released (September 2018) CDC Quality Improvement and Care Coordination: Implementing the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which Abt helped the CDC to develop.

The participating healthcare systems are Atrius Health (MA), Indian Health Service (OR, MN, ND, NM), Montefiore Medical Center (NY), St. Mary’s/Clearwater Valley (ID) and Stormont Vail Health (KS).

Collaborative members are pursuing a range of initiatives to implement the CDC Prescribing Guideline recommendations. They include using electronic health records, clinical decision support tools, shared medical appointments and a dashboard for audit and feedback. The members will engage behavioral health specialists, document prescription drug monitoring program checks and develop a patient registry. Members also will standardize their approach across providers.

“Everyone knows we need to address the opioid epidemic in health care, but the challenge now lies in how to actually implement what is recommended. The QI collaborative consists of healthcare systems charged with doing exactly that—with support from the Abt team and learning from one another,” said Abt’s Sarah J. Shoemaker, PharmD, PhD, co-principal investigator on the project.    


About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development.

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