HealthTrust Awards Scripps Health an Innovation Grant For Perioperative Opioid Stewardship Initiative

Grant awarded during annual HealthTrust University Conference

LAS VEGAS, Nevada—July 19, 2017—Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated healthcare delivery system based in San Diego, California, was awarded a HealthTrust Innovation Grant at the 2017 HealthTrust University Conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada. HealthTrustSM established the annual grant three years ago to sponsor and reward new, scalable ideas for advancing healthcare by improving care delivery, health outcomes, cost savings, operational efficiency and/or population health.

The $50,000 award provides a $25,000 grant and $25,000 in HealthTrust service line expertise to support the replication of best practices across the membership. Scripps Health was selected for its innovative idea to address the overuse of opioid analgesics in patients undergoing surgery. It is one of a growing number of health systems nationwide that have come to recognize opioid dependency can be a hospital-acquired condition.

Scripps’ perioperative opioid stewardship initiative involves education-oriented interventions across episodes of care, beginning with patients’ initial discussion with the surgeon and continuing three months post-surgery. The overriding goals are for patients to have realistic expectations of postoperative pain and a clear understanding of the side effects of opioids, including the potential for addiction. The focus initially will be on general surgery, expanding next to spine surgery and orthopedics.

Success will require physicians to embrace the multimodal pain management approach, and the need to limit and monitor post-discharge opioids. Physicians, nurses and pharmacists at Scripps will be working collaboratively with one another, community-based primary care physicians and a county-wide prescription drug abuse task force.

“Providers everywhere will benefit from the pioneering work being undertaken at Scripps Health, because the patient educational materials it’s developing will be made available to every other HealthTrust member interested in reducing demand for prescription opioids, “ says Michael Schlosser, M.D., chief medical officer of HealthTrust. “It is an important first step in emerging efforts nationwide to promote enhanced recovery after surgery pathways, of which opioid avoidance is a key element.”

Grant funding from HealthTrust will be used to partially offset the cost of producing the educational materials in a variety of mediums, which will include print brochures and a web-based video. HealthTrust service line support will be in the form of copywriting, graphic design and assistance in liaising with local radio and television stations to help spread the word about the dangers of opioids and the contribution of prescribing practices to the escalating opioid epidemic. A peer-reviewed manuscript may be produced if the program is successful, as anticipated, in reducing post-surgical complications, speeding patient recovery, improving patient satisfaction and lowering post-discharge opioid use.

Results of Scripps Health’s perioperative opioid stewardship initiative will be shared in HealthTrust’s member magazine, The Source. In addition, Scripps Health and HealthTrust will share a progress report at next year’s HTU Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Project team members from Scripps Health include Jonathan Worsey, M.D. and David Dockweiler, M.D., co-chairs of the surgery care line; Valerie Norton, M.D., chair of the system-wide pharmacy and therapeutics council; Melissa Flaherty, Pharm.D., clinical pharmacy manager and co-chair of the system-wide pharmacy and therapeutics council; and Emily Hernandez, R.N., MSN, clinical resource specialist in supply chain.

About HealthTrust

HealthTrust (HealthTrust Purchasing Group, L.P.) is committed to strengthening provider performance and clinical excellence through an aligned membership model and the delivery of total spend management solutions, including supply chain solutions and a contract and service portfolio unparalleled in quality, scope and value. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, HealthTrust ( serves approximately 1,600 acute care facilities and members in more than 26,000 other locations, including ambulatory surgery centers, physician practices, long-term care and alternate care sites. On Twitter @healthtrustpg.

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HealthTrust Contact:
Richard Jonardi

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