College of Nursing named a study site for Opioid Quality Improvement Collaborative

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, November 6, 2019

JOHNSON CITY — The East Tennessee State University College of Nursing is part of a cohort of health care systems participating as study sites for the Opioid Quality Improvement (QI) Collaborative.

The Collaborative’s goal is to support health care systems in implementing recommendations from the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and using associated QI measures to improve chronic pain care and opioid prescribing management.

The project is led by Abt Associates and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Collaborative now includes two cohorts of health care systems across 11 states from Massachusetts to Oregon and more than 120 primary care practices. ETSU’s College of Nursing was named to the second cohort earlier this year.

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“The focus of this collaborative is to facilitate excellent patient outcomes while assisting health care providers to prescribe opioids based on the scientific evidence,” said Dr. Patricia Vanhook, associate dean for practice and community partnerships. “We are implementing changes to the electronic medical record to assist the providers in the appropriate assessment, prescribing and monitoring of patients on opioids. We are excited for the opportunity to participate in this national effort.”

Integral to the project are 16 clinical QI opioid measures, which align with the CDC guideline. Each health care system involved agreed to produce and monitor its progress on at least five QI measures. The health care system will evaluate the impact of the QI measures on prescribing and patient outcomes.

The ETSU College of Nursing’s nurse-managed clinics, including Johnson City Community Health Center, Johnson City Day Center, Hancock County Community Health Center and Mountain City Extended Hours Health Center, are participating as study sites. They have agreed to monitor the following QI measures: compliance with CDC and Tennessee Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, assessment for new opioid prescriptions, CSMD database evaluation, and opioid monitoring.

Each system participating in the Collaborative receives a $25,000 stipend to offset costs of implementation and will benefit from several resources and opportunities for shared learning, including:

• expert guidance and consultation on clinical, QI and care redesign components of improving chronic pain care and opioid prescribing and management,

• monthly implementation calls to discuss challenges and lessons learned,

• discussions about how to make the QI measures operational,

• a case-based clinical webinar series,

• use of the CDC Quality Improvement and Care Coordination: Implementing the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, and

• a website to identify resources and share information.

Based on the experiences of participating health systems and lessons learned, CDC will release a refined set of QI measures.

“The Collaborative is an opportunity to support health care systems that are doing the hard work in their communities to provide individualized care for patients with chronic pain while balancing practice-level improvements in opioid prescribing for safer, evidence-based care,” said Dr. Sarah J. Shoemaker-Hunt, principal investigator for the CDC-funded project.

To learn more about the Opioid Quality Improvement Collaborative, visit

Find out more about ETSU’s College of Nursing at