Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Achievement in Patient Safety Innovation Award for its efforts to reduce opioid prescribing. The award was one of two top honors presented by the Maryland Patient Safety Center at the 14th annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference on April 13 in Baltimore.
Leaders at AAMC began examining internal opioid prescribing practices in the summer of 2016 due to concerns about the linkage between prescription opioids and the rising number of opioid overdoses. Pilot studies found a wide variation in how doctors prescribed opioid painkillers.
A multidisciplinary taskforce was formed to address the issue. In September 2017, based upon preliminary results seen in three key clinical areas — orthopedics, the emergency room and primary care — AAMC announced its goal to reduce opioid prescribing across its health system by 50 percent by 2019. In March of this year, AAMC reported that at the end of the first year of intervention, the total amount of opioids prescribed each month was 59 percent less than when it started.
“Opioid overprescribing is falling in multiple areas of our health system, with no decline in patient satisfaction with pain management, or return visits to the Emergency Department due to under treatment,” said Barry Meisenberg, MD, chair for quality improvement at AAMC and lead on the health system’s Opioid Taskforce. “This success is based on concerted efforts of hundreds of physicians who altered their customary mode of practice over hundreds of thousands of patient visits, surgeries and hospital discharges.”
Award winners were selected by a panel of independent judges who are leaders in the Maryland health care community.
In a press release announcing award recipients, President/CEO of the Maryland Patient Safety Center, Robert Imhoff, said: “We congratulate our winners, who through their diligent efforts and strategic thinking have advanced the cause of improving patient safety. Timely and innovative solutions like the ones we are recognizing this year are needed to address the constantly evolving healthcare landscape facing healthcare practitioners in Maryland and beyond.”
“We take seriously our role to lead the efforts to address this public health crisis,” Meisenberg continued. “We recognize that it is the beginning of long-term commitment to making an impact on an issue that has plague our communities for decades. We are proud to be recognized for our efforts.”