How HCA Healthcare is using clinical analytics for opioid stewardship

HCA Healthcare’s Physician Services Group offers oversight for some 5,700 physicians and advanced practice providers, and embraces an approach to communication and collaboration that’s “deeply collaborative,” said Barbara Coughlin, RN, vice president of quality at HCA.

One specific area where the health system has been making big headway in that regard has been an all-hands-on-deck response to the opioid crisis.

“The opioid abuse epidemic has ravaged communities across our nation, claiming the lives of more than 115 Americans every day,” said Coughlin.

“Across the PSG organization, we recognize that there is a real opportunity to make a meaningful difference, and doing that requires data, partnership, and a commitment to making these efforts a priority,” she explained. “We have been very intentional with how to mitigate the effects of the epidemic our nation faces.”

At HIMSS19, Coughlin and her colleague Carol White, ambulatory EHR medication management pharmacist at HCA, will show how the health system has been making use of its data to ensure its providers are thinking critically about the way they prescribe controlled substances.

Their session will explain how HCA Healthcare and the PSG is leveraging its technology infrastructure to help physicians stay compliant with regulations while also delivering better and safer care to complex patient populations.

They’ll show how they define key performance indicators of effective pain management programs, tap into data analytics and reporting to keep tabs on how providers are prescribing and  gain insight into specific EHR workflows to learn how physicians make decisions about pain management therapy.

In early 2013, the PSG “developed, in partnership with our physicians and providers, controlled substance guidelines that outline best practices around controlled substance prescribing,” Coughlin explained. “Included in these recommendations is monitoring of state prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing controlled substance agreements with patients, and random drug screens, if necessary.”

When that work began, “much of our initial activities were manual,” she said. But by the next year, HCE began working more closely with IT staff and EHR leadership to “identify and develop ways to aggregate prescribing metric data and make it available to our providers.”

That ability to see and learn from the physicians’ prescribing patterns is “powerful,” said Coughlin. “We evaluate this data on a routine basis to help ensure we are within appropriate national benchmarks and to continually identify opportunities to improve.”

“Having this data available for our providers was a turning point,” added White. “It made the data transparent and actionable. This has been a big win for our prescribers and, more important, for our patients. And, it allows our providers to have robust conversations with patients regarding the care that we ultimately want to deliver.”

Coughlin and White’s presentation, “A Quality and Analytics-Based Approach to the Opioid Epidemic,” is scheduled for Wednesday, February 13, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in room W303A.

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