To boost opioid treatment prescriptions, entice physicians

A new study shows that a financial incentive can dramatically increase the number of emergency department physicians trained to prescribe a potentially life-saving medication that prevents patients from fatal opioid overdose. 

Physician’s hands holding a pen and writing a prescription at a desk

Led by researchers in Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, the study showed that, at its start, just 6% of eligible physicians across three different emergency departments (EDs) had the proper training to prescribe the medication buprenorphine. But by offering reimbursement for training and a $750 incentive, 89% of physicians in those EDs were fully trained six weeks later. The study was published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

“This study shows how enthusiastically emergency physicians embraced the opportunity to obtain this certification, which speaks to the shifting national conversation surrounding opioid use disorder and the importance of meeting patients where they are,” says Sean Foster, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and the director of Quality Improvement in Emergency Medicine at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. “This also gives a ‘playbook’ of sorts to any leaders and administrators who may be looking for ways to get their group trained.”

This story is by Frank Otto. Read more at Penn Medicine News.