Responsible Opioid Prescribing for Dental Professionals

Altarum advises dental practices on how to use data, technology and education to reduce the potential for opioid abuse among patients.

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Overview

Altarum has designed a 10-credit hour, four-month continuing education and quality improvement program for dental practices on responsible opioid prescribing. We are currently piloting the training with providers through funding from the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, a collaboration of the state of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the University of Michigan.

Our Approach

During the program, dentists and dental clinicians learn about dentistry’s role in the opioid crisis, how to apply opioid prescribing recommendations (such as American Dental Association guidelines), how to use the Michigan Automated Prescription System to identify individuals with potential risk for misuse, and how to educate patients on the safe use of opioids.

Results

One goal of the program is to ensure that 75 percent of all patients prescribed opioids will receive pain management counseling and a follow-up phone call from their provider to identify the number of opioid pills the patient has used, and their level of pain. Based on our initial training, we have found that only a small percentage of dentists are providing pain management counseling, performing follow-up counseling, or accessing the prescription drug monitoring system when they prescribe opioids. All of this underscores the important role of responsible opioid prescribing training in ending the opioid crisis.