Drivers, Beliefs, and Barriers Surrounding Surgical Opioid Prescribing: A Qualitative Study of Surgeons' Opioid Prescribing Habits.
The Journal of surgical research
BACKGROUND: Recent data demonstrate that surgeons overprescribe opioids and vary considerably in the amount of opioids prescribed for common procedures. Limited data exist about why and how surgeons develop certain opioid prescribing habits. We sought to identify surgeons' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about opioid prescribing and elicit barriers to guideline-based prescribing.METHODS: We conducted qualitative semistructured interviews accompanied by demographic surveys at an academic medical center. Surgical residents and faculty members were selected by maximum variation purposive sampling. We used thematic analysis to identify themes associated with opioid prescribing.RESULTS: Twenty surgical residents and twenty-one surgical faculty members were interviewed. Characteristics of individual surgeons, patients, health care teams, practice environments, and the complex interplay between these domains drove prescribing habits. Attending-resident communication about opioid prescribing was extremely limited. Surgeons received little training and feedback about opioid prescribing and were rarely aware of negative long-term consequences, limiting motivation to change prescribing habits. Although surgeons frequently interacted with pain management physicians to comanage patients postoperatively, few involved pain management physicians in preoperative planning. Perceived barriers to guideline-based prescribing included the following: limitations to electronic prescribing, cross-coverage problems, inadequate time for patient education, and impediments to use of nonopioid alternatives.CONCLUSIONS: Interventions to improve compliance with opioid prescribing guidelines should include surgeon education and personal feedback. Future interventions should aim to improve attending-resident communication about opioid prescribing, reduce hurdles to electronic prescribing, provide clear pain management plans for cross-covering physicians, assess alternative methods for efficient patient education, and maximize use of nonnarcotic pain medications.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2019.10.039
View details for PubMedID 31767277