Implementing an overdose education and naloxone distribution program in a health system

Source:
Medicines Management Collection
Publisher:
Journal Of The American Pharmacists Association : Japha
Publication date:
20 February 2017

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To design and implement a health system-wide program increasing provision of take-home naloxone in patients at risk for opioid overdose, with the downstream aim of reducing fatalities. The program includes health care professional education and guidelines, development, and dissemination of patient education materials, electronic health record changes to promote naloxone prescriptions, and availability of naloxone in pharmacies. SETTING: Academic health system, San Diego, California. PRACTICE DESCRIPTION: University of California, San Diego Health (UCSDH), offers both inpatient and outpatient primary care and specialty services with 563 beds spanning 2 hospitals and 6 pharmacies. UCSDH is part of the University of California health system, and it serves as the county's safety net hospital. PRACTICE INNOVATION: In January 2016, a multisite academic health system initiated a system-wide overdose education and naloxone distribution program to prevent opioid overdose and opioid overdose-related deaths. An interdisciplinary, interdepartmental team came together to develop and implement the program. To strengthen institutional support, naloxone prescribing guidelines were developed and approved for the health system. Education on naloxone for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses was provided through departmental trainings, bulletins, and e-mail notifications. Alerts in the electronic health record and preset naloxone orders facilitated co-prescribing of naloxone with opioid prescriptions. EVALUATION: Electronic health record reports captured naloxone prescriptions ordered. Summary reports on the electronic health record measured naloxone reminder alerts and response rates. RESULTS: Since the start of the program, the health system has trained 252 physicians, pharmacists, and nurses in overdose education and take-home naloxone. There has been an increase in the number of prescriptions for naloxone from a baseline of 4.5 per month to an average of 46 per month during the 3 months following full implementation of the program including implementation of electronic health record alerts. CONCLUSION: Initiating and implementing an overdose education and naloxone distribution program is feasible in an academic health system.