Postoperative Analgesia Protocol: A Resident-Led Effort to Standardize Opioid Prescribing Patterns.Laryngoscope. 2021 05; 131(5):982-988.L
The combined impact of variable surgeon prescribing preferences and low resident prescribing comfort level can lead to significant disparity in opioid prescribing patterns for the same surgery in the same academic surgical practice. We report the results of a resident led initiative to standardize postoperative prescription practices within the Department of Otolaryngology at a single tertiary-care academic hospital in order to reduce overall opioid distribution.
Retrospective cohort study.
Following approval by the Institutional Review Board, performed a retrospective review of 12 months before (July 2016-June 2017) and after (July 2017-June 2018) implementation of the Postoperative Analgesia Protocol, which included all adults undergoing tonsillectomy, septoplasty, thyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy, tympanoplasty, middle ear exploration, stapedectomy, and ossicular chain reconstruction.
Seven hundred and thirty eight procedures met inclusion criteria. Following implementation, total morphine milligram equivalents decreased by 26% (P < .0001). The number of patients requiring opioid refills decreased by 49%, and morphine milligram equivalents received as refills decreased by 16% (P < .001). Thyroid and parathyroid surgery had the greatest reduction in morphine milligram equivalents prescribed (84%, P < .001), followed by septoplasty (30%, P = .001) and tonsillectomy (18%, P < .001). The number of patients receiving refills of opioid medications decreased for all procedures (tonsillectomy 54%; septoplasty 67%; thyroid/parathyroid surgery 80%, middle ear surgery 100%).
While every patient and surgery must be treated individually, this study demonstrates that a resident led standardization of pain control regimes can result in significant reductions in total quantity of opioids prescribed.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
IV Laryngoscope, 131:982-988, 2021.