How Twin Cities Orthopedics slashed pill prescriptions by 61% — 7 key insights

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Minneapolis-based Twin Cities Orthopedics significantly reduced opioid use by implementing new protocols at its 48 facilities and urgent care clinics, without lowering patient satisfaction or affecting pain scores.

Seven insights:

1. TCO collected data on 3,000 patients' prescriptions, satisfaction levels and disposal habits in 2017 and used the data to formalize its opioid prescribing guidelines in February 2018.

2. TCO's 115 orthopedic physicians reduced the number of pills prescribed for orthopedic procedures by 61 percent. They prescribed an average of 16 pills per patient in 2018, down from 41 per patient in 2017.

3. Forty-six percent of patients who underwent outpatient surgery weren't prescribed any pain medications.

4. However, patients' pain levels weren't affected by the drop in prescription volumes. Patients who received fewer pain medications reported a lower pain level than patients who received more pain medications.

5. Patient satisfaction was also higher for patients who received fewer prescriptions, averaging a score of nine on a scale where 10 represented the highest satisfaction.

6. Additionally, the strength of prescriptions dropped from 293 morphine equivalent units in 2017 to 110 morphine equivalent units in 2018, a decrease of 62 percent.

7. TCO created and distributed materials informing patients of safe medication disposal habits. Patients safely disposed of unused medications twice as often as what they reported in previous surveys.

More articles on orthopedics/TJR:
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6+ ASCs in New York with total joint replacements
5+ ASCs in North Carolina with total joint replacements 

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