North Texas Medical City Healthcare Using Effective Alternatives to Reduce Opioid Prescription Use

Photo: CNN

DALLAS (WBAP/KLIF)- One of the largest North Texas health care providers takes action to fight the nation-wide opioid crisis.

Medical City Healthcare’s efforts to reduce the opioid crisis have paid off with a 21% decrease in opioid prescriptions in North Texas. They’ve developed a three-pronged approach to tackle this issue.

With the first phase, Physicians are using less addictive but effective alternatives, called ALTOSM therapies, including non-opioid patches, non-opioid pain medications, trigger point injections and other pain relief methods.

“This is an evolution in how we approach pain relief for patients,” says Miguel Benet, MD, Medical City Healthcare Chief Medical Officer. “These initiatives represent our commitment to patients not just while they are in our care, but also to their well-being after they leave the hospital.”

The second phase of the initiative aims to reduce opioid use in surgical recovery. In addition to the ALTO therapies, innovative and alternative techniques have been used to help relieve patients’ physical and emotional discomfort, leading to reductions in opioid use with the added benefits of decreased complications and lengths of stay.

In a pilot study, for example, 35% of patients who used virtual technology at Medical City Healthcare hospitals reported reduced pain, and more than 60% reported a reduction in anxiety. As part of this treatment, each patient receives a virtual reality headset, along with education and training on how to use it to manage pain while at the hospital. The headsets are free for patients to take home, empowering them to continue treatment after discharge. Virtual reality for pain relief has been used effectively in labor and delivery, oncology and post-surgical care.

The third phase of the comprehensive plan focuses on community education. Surplus and expired medications left at home are vulnerable to misuse, theft or abuse by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

In response, Medical City Healthcare hospitals now offer drug take back boxes to enable North Texans to safely and anonymously remove prescription opioids and other medications from their homes. The drug take back boxes, which are compliant with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations, may be accessed, free of charge, any day of the year – not just on a specific drug take back day.

Medical City Healthcare facilities offering medication take back boxes include:

Medical city healthcare is one of the region’s largest with 14 hospitals in the DFW Metroplex.

“The health system are looking for many approaches like this..I think this will lead the way for the country and the North Texas region,” said Benet.

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