Press Release

MN Health Collaborative physicians refine benchmarks for post-operative opioid prescription

Surgeons across major healthcare systems collaborating on effort to create stronger, patient-centered prescription practices for opioids

Bloomington, Minn. – June 19, 2018 – Representatives from the MN Health Collaborative, a group of 14 Minnesota healthcare systems, announced they are currently developing an innovative approach to prescribing opioids for post-operative pain. The new approach addresses the unique needs of patients based on their past health histories, current diagnoses, and required surgical and post-operative treatment needs.

Changing current post-operative prescription standards is a critical step to ensure that patients do not receive more than the required number of pills needed for pain management as overprescribing opioids may lead to side effects and potential dependence for some individuals. Surplus opioid medications also increase the risk of these drugs being diverted from intended use and distributed illegally within the community. 

To combat these potential problems, surgeons within the MN Health Collaborative have begun a collaborative effort that uses a specific, nuanced approach to post-surgical opioid prescription. Developed in part as an answer to the lack of evidence-based guidelines for post-operative opioid use, the approach is based on available literature, expert consensus and community data relevant to the effort. These best practices and learnings will also be distributed to the healthcare community at large as our efforts progress

“My colleagues within the MN Health Collaborative and I are working closely in a transparent way to better learn from each other’s experiences and more rapidly implement new, shared benchmarks for care,” said Dr. Tad Mabry, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon practicing at the Mayo Clinic. “We’re already making considerable progress toward introducing new benchmarks for post-operative opioid prescriptions. This has been some of the most meaningful work of my career. Working with the MN Health Collaborative, it has become clear that we can balance reductions in the amount of opioid pain medication prescribed while maintaining a patient-centered approach to pain management.”

The MN Health Collaborative’s charter includes a specific goal to help reduce and eventually eliminate opioid overdose deaths, as well as provide better prevention and treatment practices for opioid addiction. These practices require a multi-pronged approach including stricter prescription guidelines, improved drug disposal, true care coordination, and stronger education and support for both patients and providers. The new approach to post-operative opioid prescription expands upon the State of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) newly released guidelines.

“We applaud DHS on its new guidelines, and want to build on that foundation by testing the approach recommended by surgeons within the MN Health Collaborative,” said Claire Neely, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for ICSI. “We believe this work will provide a clearer determination of the varying pain management needs required by different surgical procedures. This effort will help support a significant need to develop more patient-centered prescription practices where opioids are concerned.”