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Managing the Nation’s Pain: NQF Issues Essential Guidance on Opioid Stewardship

03/13/18

On March 8, the National Quality Forum (NQF) released the National Quality Partners Playbook™: Opioid Stewardship, which supports health care organizations and clinicians across care settings and specialties of care in safely managing patients’ pain.

The NQF’s National Quality Partners™ (NQP™) developed the NQP Playbook with input from the NQP Opioid Stewardship Action Team, whose members served as technical consultants and contributors. The more than 40 public- and private-sector experts and national stakeholders who served on the action team include patient partners, clinicians, health care organizations, pharmacists, pain management experts, community-based organizations and federal agencies.

Vizient’s Jim Lichauer, PharmD, BCPS, FASHP, project manager, PI collaboratives and advisory, served on the NQP Opioid Stewardship Action Team. “It was very important for Vizient to represent its members on the action team and in the development of this playbook. The result is the first comprehensive resource for opioid stewardship. The NQP Playbook outlines key fundamentals that any organization can use to define, enhance or expand their opioid stewardship program.”

The NQP Playbook includes concrete examples and tactics for implementation, identifies barriers and suggested solutions, and connects clinicians to important tools and resources that are applicable across care settings. Implementation examples are organized into basic, intermediate, and advanced to allow organizations with varying levels of resources and expertise to identify opportunities for action. The intent is for organizations to determine which approach best fits their individual efforts and community needs. 

The NQP Playbook also encourages health care organizations to develop realistic measurement strategies to assess key areas such as clinician prescribing patterns, adherence to best practices and the use of non-pharmacologic pain management options. In addition, the NQP Playbook identifies important drivers of change that can impact and advance opioid stewardship—including licensure, education, accreditation, payment, reimbursement, workforce management, and the use and integration of prescription drug monitoring programs into electronic health records—and urges federal entities, accreditation agencies, and partners in quality improvement to support action in these areas.

The NQP Playbook: Opioid Stewardship is available now for download. A summary of the guide is available on NQF's website. NQF will host a public webinar on March 29 and a fully accredited, one-day workshop on May 1, 2018 for clinicians and health care quality leaders to learn about implementing the NQP Playbook.

“It was exciting to collaborate with national leaders and experts on an issue that is so important to Vizient and our members. As a part of the Vizient Opioid Stewardship Campaign and other performance management program activities we will partner with our members to utilize the playbook and advance opioid stewardship across the country,” said Lichauer.

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