Quality Improvement: Creating an Opioid Withdrawal Protocol for the Inpatient Setting

Ariana Abid, MD, was invited to present her research titled Quality Improvement: Creating an Opioid Withdrawal Protocol for the Inpatient Setting during the Fellows Lightning Round session at the June 2021 Annual Meeting. Dr. Abid is an addiction medicine fellow at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) 

Dr. Abid’s presentation discussed practical and evidence-based protocol for hospitalists and other hospital care providers who are treating patients vulnerable to opioid withdrawal. This protocol incorporates the administration of buprenorphine guided using a clinical tool called the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale. According to Dr. Abid’s research, this tool can be seen as parallel to the Clinical Intoxication Withdrawal Assessment for alcohol use disorder. 

Dr. Abid’s research is relevant because, currently, there are no opioid withdrawal protocols or policies in place to treat medical patients. There also are no order sets for opioid withdrawal treatment in the hospital electronic medical records. Because of this, the team is working on implementing the recommended protocol at the UCLA hospital in Santa Monica. After 6 months of implementation, the team will review metrics, including the number of Opioid Use Disorder–related diagnoses, readmissions, and more. 

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