eClinicalWorks Blog Details

  • 26 October 2018
  • Blog

The Opioid Crisis: How to Increase Patient Safety


The opioid epidemic is a problem of significant proportions and only getting worse by the day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 11.5 million Americans, aged 12 or older, reported misusing prescription opioids in 2016. Implementing clinical decision support systems can improve patient safety by strengthening guidelines for the prescription of opioids, thereby detecting and preventing the misuse and abuse of these powerful medications.

In an effort to ensure that opioids are prescribed more appropriately, the CDC developed and published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. The guideline covers:

  • When to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain
  • Ensuring proper dosing, duration, follow-up, and discontinuation of opioids
  • Use of risk-assessment instruments

EHR companies share responsibility for developing solutions to help combat the opioid abuse epidemic. Solutions must limit the number of pills in circulation and lead to progress in providing better and safer medicine across the nation.

One part of the solution being developed by eClinicalWorks is the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT), a smart form to assess and address a patient’s risk for opioid misuse and to improve physician adherence to treatment protocols. Properly used, the tool can help increase the safety of controlled substance prescriptions, while preventing and detecting opioid misuse and abuse.



eClinicalWorks also supports Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS), and in association with Appriss Health, eClinicalWorks has built a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) integration that allows physicians to access state databases at the point of care. The partnership automatically integrates into the EHR, streamlining PDMP data access for providers, and offering a solution to combat drug misuse. Currently, 33 states are integrated through Appriss with PDMP and providers have already taken steps to manage improper prescribing and dispensing for controlled substances.


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