Default setting in EMRs 'nudged' ED physicians to limit opioid prescriptions to 10 tablets

A new study published in the <i>Journal of General Internal Medicine</i> reveals that using a default option for a lower quantity of tablets for opioid analgesics in hospital electronic medical records (EMR) discharge orders may help combat the issue of abuse among first time users.

A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reveals that using a default option for a lower quantity of tablets for opioid analgesics in hospital electronic medical records (EMR) discharge orders may help combat the issue of abuse among first time users. That option "nudges" physicians to prescribe smaller quantities consistent with prescribing guidelines, according to researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The team found that physicians from two Penn Medicine emergency departments prescribed a fewer number of opioid analgesic pills to their patients when the EMR default setting was set to 10 tablets. Initial prescriptions for that amount increased by 22% , while the number of prescriptions written for 20 tablets decreased by almost 7%. Prescriptions for 11–19 tablets decreased by more than 13%.