Table 2.

Six Building Blocks to Guide Management of Chronic Opioid Therapy

Building BlockDescriptionExamples of Action Steps
1. Provide Leadership SupportLeadership can build organization-wide consensus to prioritize safe, more selective, and more cautious opioid prescribingIdentify clinical champions to spearhead COT practice change initiatives.
Provide protected time and space for providers and staff to discuss and agree upon short and long-term goals for COT practice change initiatives
2. Revise Policies, Patient Agreements and WorkflowsRevise and implement clinic policies and define standard work for health care team members to achieve safer opioid prescribing and COT management in each clinical contact with COT patients.Convene a team from each area of the clinic to revise existing policies or write new ones
Review patient agreement and revise to ensure alignment with clinic policies.
Discuss with all staff and clinicians and modify roles, responsibilities and workflows accordingly
3. Implement a Registry for Population ManagementImplement pro-active population management before, during, and between clinic visits of all COT patients to ensure that care is safe and appropriate and provide measure to track COT improvement activities.Enter all existing COT patients and their relevant enrollment data into a COT registry.
Assign each COT patient to a single provider responsible for managing their opioid use and.
Assign a team member in each clinic with responsibility and protected time for managing and updating the registry.
Use the registry to track data for prescription management (e.g., COT dose, PEG scores to monitor function and pain, date of state prescription database checks)
4. Conduct Planned Patient-Centered VisitsConduct pre-visit planning and support patient-centered, empathic communication for COT patient care.Review COT registry reports prior to the visit to identify care gaps
Monitor and adjust management based on function and quality of life rather than pain scores (the PEG scale)
Offer organizational support for clinic staff and providers to preview charts and do team huddles about COT patients
Support staff training, to encourage the use of empathic communication techniques that
5. Identify Resources for Complex PatientsDevelop resources to ensure that patients who develop complex opioid dependence, are identified and provided with appropriate careIdentify addiction referral resources and other mental/behavioral health resources, and ensure they are readily available, setting-up referral protocols or agreements as necessary.
6. Measure ProgressContinuously monitor progress and improve with experience.Identify key process and outcome measures to monitor practice change implementation.
Monitor agreed upon COT patient care data, providing and discussing data with clinic staff and medical providers at monthly meetings.
  • COT, chronic opioid therapy.