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This article is the author’s final published version in Journal of medical Internet research, Volume 23, Issue 4, April 2021, Page e24360.

The published version is available at Copyright © Slovis et al.

Publication made possible in part by support from the Jefferson Open Access Fund


BACKGROUND: The United States is in an opioid epidemic. Passive decision support in the electronic health record (EHR) through opioid prescription presets may aid in curbing opioid dependence.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to determine whether modification of opioid prescribing presets in the EHR could change prescribing patterns for an entire hospital system.

METHODS: We performed a quasi-experimental retrospective pre-post analysis of a 24-month period before and after modifications to our EHR's opioid prescription presets to match Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. We included all opioid prescriptions prescribed at our institution for nonchronic pain. Our modifications to the EHR include (1) making duration of treatment for an opioid prescription mandatory, (2) adding a quick button for 3 days' duration while removing others, and (3) setting the default quantity of all oral opioid formulations to 10 tablets. We examined the quantity in tablets, duration in days, and proportion of prescriptions greater than 90 morphine milligram equivalents/day for our hospital system, and compared these values before and after our intervention for effect.

RESULTS: There were 78,246 prescriptions included in our study written on 30,975 unique patients. There was a significant reduction for all opioid prescriptions pre versus post in (1) the overall median quantity of tablets dispensed (54 [IQR 40-120] vs 42 [IQR 18-90]; PPP<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Modifications of opioid prescribing presets in the EHR can improve prescribing practice patterns. Reducing duration and quantity of opioid prescriptions could reduce the risk of dependence and overdose.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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