Nine Minutes to Improving Opioid Safety: Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety Releases YouTube Video

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) has released a YouTube video which discusses in nine minutes how to improve opioid safety. The video features highlights from over 10 hours of in-depth interviews released by PPAHS in 2016; altogether, the podcast series has generated over 130,000 cumulative views on YouTube. The podcast series brings together physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists discussing how they have improved opioid safety in their hospitals.

According to Michael Wong, JD, Founder and Executive Director of PPAHS:

“In just nine minutes, the video summarizes experiences of clinicians in improving opioid safety in their hospital or healthcare facility, and reminds us of the tragic consequences of adverse events and deaths that may ensue if are not proactive in promoting safety. We hope that the video will energize quality improvement and patient safety teams to strive to reduce adverse events and deaths related to opioid use.”

The opioid epidemic was one of the most heavily-covered, and hotly-debated topic in patient safety covered in 2016. This dialogue has been mostly centered around the effects of ‘street’ use and abuse of prescription painkillers. In contrast, the PPAHS podcast series aims to highlight the preventable harm of opioid-induced respiratory depression during hospital procedures. Respiratory compromise increases patient mortality rates by over 30 percent and increases hospital and ICU stays by almost 50 percent.

The video begins by highlighting the high cost of opioid-induced respiratory depression for families. Cindy Abbiehl, Co-Founder of the Promise to Amanda Foundation, spoke about her daughter, Amanda’s story:

“We went in on a Thursday. Friday evening she was put on the pain pump and by Saturday morning she had passed away. She was our only daughter.

“Brian and I will never be able to see who she marries. I’ll never be able to pick a wedding dress out with her. We’ll never be able to have her father/daughter dance.”

Fortunately, clinicians can significantly reduce opioid harm through the right combination of culture, monitoring standards, and tools. Says Thomas W. Frederickson MD, FACP, SFHM, MBA, author of the RADEO Guide (Reducing Adverse Drug Events Related to Opioids):

“[A] QI approach that involves policies, that involves making it easy for clinicians to do the right thing through appropriate tools and interventions, is so important in this realm; because the medicine and the patients can be complicated and clinicians need to have it easy for them to make good decisions and to treat their patients in a way that is going to be effective but safe.”

The video stresses that to keep patients safe, a proactive approach to opioid safety needs to be adopted at the clinical level. Says Harold Oglesby RRT, Manager, The Center for Pulmonary Health, Candler Hospital, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System:

“Don’t wait for a patient death or an adverse event to occur to be proactive, and implement some type of continuous monitoring for your patients before you get behind the eight ball and you have a bad outcome.”