Looking to play a larger role the fight against opioid abuse, the National Quality Forum on Wednesday launched a new stewardship program to lower rates of overprescribing among healthcare providers and curb patient addiction risks.
The initiative is patterned after NQF's past work to address antibiotic overprescribing, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cited as a main factor in the growing prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
The opioid initiative will serve as a guide for clinicians on how to better manage pain for patients who don't have cancer and identify strategies for providing care for patients at high risk for opioid addiction. The program builds upon recent NQF efforts to address opioids, including the organization's May endorsement of its first set of quality measures for prescribing opioids at high dosages or when patients receive prescription from multiple providers.
"This is the launch of a really important piece of work and will really help us to leverage all of the resources and expertise of our members to help us address this important epidemic," said Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, president and CEO of NQF.
Agrawal, who took over at NQF in January, is a former deputy administrator and director of the CMS' Center for Program Integrity and helped author the agency's Opioid Misuse Strategy released this year.
He said the NQF will issue a playbook during the first quarter of 2018 to help providers in their opioid stewardship efforts. It will be similar to the organization's antibiotics guidebook released last year.