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New CDC Tool for Healthcare Systems and Clinicians

Designed to encourage careful and selective use of long-term opioid therapy in the context of managing chronic pain

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (CDC Prescribing Guideline) in March 2016 for prescribing opioids in primary-care settings to improve pain management while minimizing the risk of opioid-related harms.

Abt Global in collaboration with CDC developed the Quality Improvement and Care Coordination: Implementing the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain as a framework for safer chronic pain care. The goal: To ensure patients have access to safer, more effective chronic pain treatment by improving the way opioids are prescribed through an evidence-based clinical practice guideline, while reducing the number of people who misuse opioids, develop opioid use disorder, or overdose from these drugs.

“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 – and that’s exactly where this resource comes in” said Sarah J. Shoemaker, PharmD, PhD, Abt Principal Associate and co-principal investigator on the project.   

The resource comprises a set of 16 quality improvement (QI) measures that map to the 12 CDC Prescribing Guideline recommendations. The QI measures help monitor progress in putting the recommendations into practice. In addition, the resource provides an overview of practice-level strategies to organize and improve the management and coordination of long-term opioid therapy. They include using an interdisciplinary team approach; establishing practice policies and standards; and using EHR data to develop registries and track QI measures.

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