The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that since 1999 there has been a six-fold increase in overdose deaths involving opioids—in 2018 alone, nearly 47,000 people died from an opioid-related overdose. As we look at the convergence of the COVID-19 and opioid crises, it becomes increasingly clear that overdose deaths have been accelerated by the pandemic. Individuals with substance use disorder have felt the impacts of the pandemic especially hard. Not only are there mental health ramifications of social distancing and isolation, but there have been challenges and barriers to individuals’ receiving the care they need. An estimated 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. between June 2019 and May 2020, resulting in the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded within a 12-month period. During this same period, there was a 38% increase in synthetic opioid overdoses.
National Quality Forum Has a History of Engagement about Opioid Issues
Recognizing the need, the National Quality Forum (NQF) convened an opioid stewardship action team to identify strategies and tactics to help clinicians better manage patients' pain while reducing the risk of opioid addiction. This effort resulted in the National Quality Partners (NQP) Playbook: Opioid Stewardship. The playbook is a practical, action-oriented resource guide to support healthcare organizations and clinicians who are committed to effective pain management and opioid stewardship. It is based on seven fundamental pillars of opioid stewardship that are the foundation for the courses included in the new HealthStream opioid stewardship courseware. This active curriculum takes the learner on an organization's opioid stewardship journey through a series of scenarios. Upon conclusion of the curriculum, healthcare leaders and clinicians will be able to confidently identify and implement recommended practices and strategies for creating or strengthening an opioid stewardship program at their organization.
Two Opioid Stewardship Learning Tracks – One for Leaders and One for Clinicians
The first of two curriculum tracks is designed for leaders, including healthcare administrators, patient safety and quality leaders, and compliance and regulatory staff. The secondary track is intended for frontline staff, clinicians, and other care providers, such as physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants, advanced practice nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and others who provide direct care. Each track includes seven courses aligned with the fundamental action areas within the playbook.
Each course has learning objectives and a high-level introduction of the key concepts within the fundamental action area, as well as scenarios depicting the implementation strategies, challenges, and solutions. The interactive and engaging courses also include scenario recaps, followed by a showcase of a related expert response, as well as a post-test associated with each course. The courses included for each track are:
This courseware creates an engaging, hands-on learning opportunity for individuals, through training that includes scenarios, knowledge tracks, and interactive activities to maintain readers’ attention. The courses support organizations who want to take their opioid stewardship initiatives to the next level by offering strategies for implementation of national guidelines in order to maximize impact and improve patient safety.
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