Standardizing Opioid Prescribing Practices for Cancer-Related Pain Via a Novel Interactive Documentation Template at a Public Hospital

Maliha Nusrat, Amanda Parkes, Ryan Kieser, Bei Hu, Dalia Farhat, Alyssa Rieber, Hilary Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Opioid misuse during cancer pain management places patients at risk for harm and physicians for legal liability. Identifying and monitoring patients who are at risk is challenging given the lack of validated clinical tools and evidence-based guidelines. In the current study, we aimed to standardize opioid prescribing practices at a community oncology clinic to help ensure patient safety and physician compliance with Texas state regulations. METHODS: We used the Plan-Do-Study-Act methodology. In the planning phase, current practices of assessing opioid efficacy, toxicity, and misuse were determined by surveying clinic physicians and reviewing patients' charts. We developed a new standardized process that incorporated published literature, the Texas Administrative Code, and expert opinion. Two interactive documentation templates (SmartPhrases) were designed to implement the standardized process. The intervention was studied using repeat physician surveys and chart reviews, which prompted action for refinement and sustainability. RESULTS: At baseline, 9% of providers followed a systematic approach to prescribing opioids and 86% expressed an interest in process standardization. We noted high interprovider variability in the opioid risk stratification and refill process. At 2 months and 6 months postimplementation, provider satisfaction with the intervention was 83% and 75%, whereas compliance with SmartPhrase use was 70% and 54%, respectively. The frequency of state database check improved from 36% to 94% at 6 months. Improvement was also noted in assessment and documentation of baseline risk, chemical coping, and toxicity. CONCLUSION: We implemented a systematic approach for assessing opioid misuse, toxicity, and efficacy during cancer pain management at a community oncology clinic. The approach resulted in notable improvement in provider practices and documentation compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e989-e996
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy

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