Quality Improvement Interventions to Decrease Opioid Prescribing after Hysterectomy


The objective of this prospective Quality Improvement project was to prospectively quantify the effect of quality improvement interventions aimed at decreasing the amount of opioids prescribed and used following hysterectomy. As such, we conducted a prospective quality initiative study including all patients undergoing hysterectomy for benign, nonobstetric indications between March 1, 2018, and July 31, 2018, at our academic institution. Using a visual decision aid, patients received uniform education regarding postoperative pain management. They were then educated on the department's guidelines regarding the maximum number of tablets recommended per prescription and the mean number of opioid tablets used by a similar cohort of patients in a previously published study at our institution. Patients were then asked to choose their desired number of tablets to receive on discharge. Structured telephone interviews were conducted 14 days after surgery. Of 170 eligible patients, 159 (93.5%) used the decision aid (one patient who used the decision aid was subsequently excluded from the analysis owing to significant perioperative complications), including 110 (69.6%) laparoscopic, 40 (25.3%) vaginal, and eight (5.3%) abdominal hysterectomies. Telephone surveys were completed for 89.2% (n=141) of participants. Patients who participated in the decision aid (post-decision aid cohort) were discharged with significantly fewer oral morphine equivalents than patients who underwent hysterectomy before implementation of the decision aid (pre-decision aid cohort) (92±35 vs 160±81, P<.01), with no significant change in the number of requested refills (9.5% [n=15] vs 5.7% [n=14], P=.15). In the post-decision aid cohort, 76.6% of patients (n=121) chose fewer tablets than the guideline-allotted maximum. Approximately 76% of patients (n=102) reported having leftover tablets. Given these findings, this quality improvement initiative illustrates that a simple decision aid can result in a significant decrease in opioid prescribing without compromising patient satisfaction or postoperative pain management.

Status: Completed
Funding: None
Category: Research