A Quality Improvement Initiative Featuring Peer-Comparison Prescribing Feedback Reduces Emergency Department Opioid Prescribing

Jonathan W. Andereck, Quentin R. Reuter, Katherine C. Allen, Sina Ansari, Aaron Robert Quarles, Daniel S. Cruz, Lydia A. VanZalen, Sanjeev Malik, Danielle Molloy McCarthy, Howard Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Opioid prescribing in the United States nearly tripled from 1999 to 2015, and opioid overdose deaths doubled in the same time frame. Emergency departments (EDs) may play a pivotal role in the opioid epidemic as a source of first-time opioid exposure; however, many prescribers are generally unaware of their prescribing behaviors relative to their peers. Methods: All 117 ED prescribers at an urban academic medical center were provided with regular feedback on individual rates of opioid prescribing relative to their de-identified peers. To evaluate the effect of this intervention on the departmental rate of opioid prescribing, a statistical process control (SPC) chart was created to identify special cause variation, and an interrupted time series analysis was conducted to evaluate the immediate effect of the intervention and any change in the postintervention trend due to the intervention. Results: The aggregate opioid prescribing rate in the preintervention period was 8.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 8.3%–8.9%), while the aggregate postintervention prescribing rate was 5.8% (95% CI: 5.5%–6.1%). The SPC chart revealed special cause variation in both the pre- and postintervention periods, with an overall downtrend of opioid prescribing rates across the evaluation period and flattening of rates in the final four blocks. Interrupted time series analysis demonstrated a significant immediate downward effect of the intervention and a nonsignificant additional decrease in postintervention trend. Conclusion: Implementation of peer-comparison opioid prescribing feedback was associated with a significant immediate reduction in the rate of ED discharge opioid prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-679
Number of pages11
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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