Comparing Clinician Consensus Recommendations to Patient-reported Opioid Use Across Multiple Hospital Systems

Kortney A. Robinson, Cornelius A. Thiels, Sean Stokes, Sarah Duncan, Mario Feranil, Aaron Fleishman, Charles H. Cook, Larry A. Nathanson, Lyen C. Huang, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Gabriel A. Brat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective::We compare consensus recommendations for 5 surgical procedures to prospectively collected patient consumption data. To address local variation, we combined data from multiple hospitals across the country.Summary of Background Data:One approach to address the opioid epidemic has been to create prescribing consensus reports for common surgical procedures. However, it is unclear how these guidelines compare to patient-reported data from multiple hospital systems.Methods:Prospective observational studies of surgery patients were completed between 3/2017 and 12/2018. Data were collected utilizing post-discharge surveys and chart reviews from 5 hospitals (representing 3 hospital systems) in 5 states across the USA. Prescribing recommendations for 5 common surgical procedures identified in 2 recent consensus reports were compared to the prospectively collected aggregated data. Surgeries included: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, open inguinal hernia repair, laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair, partial mastectomy without sentinel lymph node biopsy, and partial mastectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy.Results:Eight hundred forty-seven opioid-naïve patients who underwent 1 of the 5 studied procedures reported counts of unused opioid pills after discharge. Forty-one percent did not take any opioid medications, and across all surgeries, the median consumption was 3 5 mg oxycodone pills or less. Generally, consensus reports recommended opioid quantities that were greater than the 75th percentile of consumption, and for 2 procedures, recommendations exceeded the 90th percentile of consumption.Conclusions:Although consensus recommendations were an important first step to address opioid prescribing, our data suggests that following these recommendations would result in 47%-56% of pills prescribed remaining unused. Future multi-institutional efforts should be directed toward refining and personalizing prescribing recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E361-E365
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • consensus reports
  • opioids
  • overprescribing
  • prescribing recommendations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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