Military Using New Opioid Tool

The Opioid Clinical Decision Support Tool helps providers make critical prescription decisions. The tool is used on average 81 times a day across seven military medical treatment facilities.

“Although the active duty population has significantly lower rates of opioid addiction and abuse than the civilian population, the Military Health System is taking a proactive approach to combat opioid overuse and misuse”, said Air Force Maj. (Dr.) David Alt, Deputy Chief of User Acceptance and Analysis at the Defense Health Agency. “We hope to serve as a role model for pain management across the care continuum.”

The new Opioid Clinical Decision Support Tool screens a patient’s medical history before an opioid is prescribed. The tool looks at other opioid prescriptions, behavioral health history, co-prescription of sedatives like benzodiazepines, and laboratory drug tests. The tool then creates an alert that lets providers know about multiple high risk conditions and allows providers to modify the order in real time.

The tool already helps providers make critical prescription decisions. The tool’s morphine equivalent calculator helps providers judge how much of an opioid is needed to relieve pain or put a patient at risk regardless of the specific opioid prescribed. The tool also suggests additional prescriptions like naloxone which can help reverse an opioid. Nearly 1,000 providers have used the tool since it went live in March 2020.

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