Utilizing evidence-based practices, being able to constantly monitor the latest research and being nimble are the key components of a successful opioid management program, says Tyson Thompson, PharmD, of UMass Medical School’s Clinical Pharmacy Services.
A crucial aspect of UMass Medical School’s opioid management model is an internal working group that keeps on top of the latest research and evidence related to the use of opioid-based pain medication and efforts to prevent its abuse, Thompson says.
“It’s a continuous type of quality assurance check,” notes Tyson, a clinical consultant pharmacist who works with state agencies and Medicaid programs to develop best practices in opioid management. “It’s nice to have a group of subject matter experts that can keep a close eye on those types of things.”
This effort to incorporate the latest evidence and research provides a major support for pharmacists in their everyday work.
Having access to the latest findings in the field, for example, is extremely helpful when a pharmacist must handle a prior-authorization for opioid-based medication, Thompson says.
“This gives our pharmacists that are on the frontlines evaluating prior authorizations as much information as possible so that they are able to confidently make a decision on what they are going to in a certain situation,” Thompson said.
Thompson is a member of the Opioid Therapeutic Class Management Workgroup for MassHealth, an opioid management program developed by UMass Medical School for the Massachusetts Medicaid program. The initiative has led to a drop in the overall use of opioid-based medications, including a reduction in average daily doses and a decline in total drug costs.