Capturing Patient-Reported Data About Opioid Use
Daniel Lee, MD, MS
Zarina Ali, MD, MS
Brian Sennett, MD
Rachel Kleinman, MHSA
Hannah Lacko, MA
Annamarie Horan, PhD, MPA
Mary Coolet, PhD
Eric Hume, MD
Samir Mehta, MD
Food and Drug Administration
There is a risk that leftover opioids may be misused by the person they were prescribed to or by others.
Interventions to tailor or “right-size” opioid prescriptions to better match patient needs must be identified and implemented to address this issue. A better understanding of the number of opioid pills patients use after surgery is needed to enable such interventions.
We built and deployed an automated text messaging program designed to capture patient-reported data about pain levels and the use of prescription opioids.
During the initial pilot, more than 1,100 patients undergoing orthopaedic or urology surgical procedures consented to use the system. And in that population, we found that roughly 61 percent of the opioid tablets that had been prescribed went unused.
When brought to scale, this system could help clinical departments develop patient-informed and procedure-specific short-term opioid guidelines aimed at reducing the number of unused opioid tablets following surgery.