Kettering Health Network (ketteringhealth.org)
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Kettering Health Network creates tool to help clinicians provide opioid-free health care

October 02, 2017

To reduce the spread of the opioid epidemic, Kettering Health Network has created an innovative tool for healthcare providers and pharmacists. This tool has the potential to help clinicians provide opioid-free health care.

Kettering Health Network introduced the Pause—Not all pain is the same program. Pause is a way for healthcare providers and pharmacists to manage chronic or benign pain by pausing and considering alternatives to opioids. The program offers reference materials for clinicians that show alternatives to opioids for five key types of pain.

Today Kettering Health Network physicians and executives introduced the Pause—Not all pain is the same program. Pause is a way for healthcare providers and pharmacists to manage chronic or benign pain by pausing and considering alternatives to opioids. Designed in collaboration with Pain Management and Addiction Medicine, the program offers reference materials for clinicians that show alternatives to opioids for five key types of pain:

  1. Chronic benign headache
  2. Chronic dental pain
  3. Chronic neck or back pain
  4. Chronic joint pain
  5. Chronic abdominal pain

Nancy Pook, MD, medical director of the emergency department at Kettering Medical Center, developed the Pause program in response to the high number of patients who have been prescribed high doses of long-acting narcotics and the increased number of overdose deaths.

"Because of this need, we developed a program as a network-wide initiative at Kettering Health Network," Dr. Pook explains. "We reinforced it by embedding it in electronic medical record education, providing laminated posters in the Emergency Departments, training our medical teams, and tracking reports of opiate prescribing within our electronic medical record. Each piece, individually and in total, has been essential to the results we are seeing today."

After implementing these steps, Kettering Health Network's opiate use has dropped approximately 20 percent. Repeat emergency visits for minor pain complaints have decreased by more than 50 percent. "Even as we continue to see high acuity and high volume, we maintain our commitment to delivering compassionate health care," says Dr. Pook.

The Pause program is available for free to healthcare providers and pharmacists throughout the country. For more information, visit ketteringhealth.org/pause.