Prescribing opioids to injured patients who are discharged from an inpatient trauma admission is almost ubiquitous;however up to 26% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain abuse them leaving them at an increased risk of overdose and overdose fatality. Addressing this problem through an institutional level approach involving both patients and providers, including changes in physician prescription behaviors and directly intervening with the patients to increase knowledge of risks of opioid misuse and overdose, affords us the best opportunity to address this escalating public health concern. Using a quasi-experimental design we will compare the effect of adopting and implementing a Safe Opioid Prescription Practice (SOPP) protocol within a Level 1 trauma service team compared to a Level 1 trauma service team implementing standard care. Providers at both sites will complete web-based surveys to assess baseline knowledge, attitudes and barriers related to safe prescription practices. The intervention site will complete technical assistance activities to lead to the adoption and implementation of a SOPP protocol. The control site will continue to offer standard care to trauma patients throughout all phases. To measure institutional level changes, chart reviews will be conducted at both sites using a blinded medical review of discharged trauma service patients at baseline, early implementation, implementation and maintenance phases. To measure patient level changes, we will assess patient perception of the discharge experience at both sites during the adoption phase (Cohort 1=100);implementation phase (Cohort 2=100) and maintenance phase (Cohort 3=100) via telephone interview within 7 days post discharge. Three month interviews will also be conducted with Cohort 2 to assess patient opioid usage, pain management strategies and Naloxone usage among Cohort 2.
The aims of the proposed research study are to 1) examine and measure the adoption, implementation and maintenance of the SOPP protocol in the intervention site compared to standard care site and 2) to assess patient level outcomes of the SOPP protocol. The secondary aim of this study is to assess the effect the SOPP protocol on provider prescribing practices comparing the average dosage (in morphine milligram equivalents) and duration of dose from the chart review at baseline to the early implementation, implementation and maintenance phases of the study. The findings from this study will allow us to better understand the translation of a safe opioid prescription practice and has the potential to impact best practices for patient discharge within Level 1 trauma centers.

Public Health Relevance

Prescription opioid abuse and deaths from unintentional overdose have increased dramatically and prevention interventions to address this serious public health issue are needed. This research has the potential to significantly impact public health by ensuring safe opioid prescription practices for trauma patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCE1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Rhode Island Hospital
United States
Zip Code