J Hosp Med. 2021 Jun;16(6):339-344. doi: 10.12788/jhm.3544.
BACKGROUND: Hospitalized patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) are rarely started on buprenorphine or methadone maintenance despite evidence that these medications reduce all-cause mortality, overdoses, and hospital readmissions.
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether clinician education and a team of residents and hospitalist attendings waivered to prescribe buprenorphine increased the rate of starting patients with OUD on buprenorphine maintenance.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Quality improvement study conducted at a large, urban, academic hospital in Maryland involving hospitalized patients with OUD on internal medicine resident services.
INTERVENTION: We developed a protocol for initiating buprenorphine maintenance, presented an educational conference, and started the resident-led Buprenorphine Bridge Team of residents and attendings waivered to prescribe buprenorphine to bridge patients from discharge to follow-up.
MEASUREMENTS: The percent of eligible inpatients with OUD initiated on buprenorphine maintenance, 24 weeks before and after the intervention; engagement in treatment after discharge; and resident knowledge and comfort with buprenorphine.
RESULTS: The rate of starting buprenorphine maintenance increased from 10% (30 of 305 eligible patients) to 24% (64 of 270 eligible patients) after the intervention, with interrupted time series analysis showing a significant increase in rate (14.4%; 95% CI, 3.6%-25.3%; P = .02). Engagement in treatment after discharge was unchanged (40%-46% engaged 30 days after discharge). Of 156 internal medicine residents, 89 (57%) completed the baseline survey and 66 (42%) completed the follow-up survey. Responses demonstrated improved resident knowledge and comfort with buprenorphine.
CONCLUSION: Internal medicine resident teams were more likely to start patients on buprenorphine maintenance after clinician education and implementation of a Buprenorphine Bridge Team.