Doctors using a program to increase buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder were able to boost use of the medication sixfold, HealthDay reports.
The program used tactics including providing financial incentives for doctors to train to treat opioid use disorder, as well as automatically connecting patients with peer recovery specialists.
Before the financial incentive for doctors was instituted, just 6% of the doctors in the study had undergone the training, which was required to prescribe buprenorphine. Six weeks after a financial incentive was offered, 90% of the doctors had gone through the training, the researchers reported in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
The researchers also developed a system to identify patients through their electronic health records and immediately connect them with peer recovery specialists while they were still in the hospital and during early recovery.
“We used a behavioral design approach to make implementation of evidence-based treatment easy, attractive, social and timely. While we concentrated initially on prescribing itself, we realized we also needed to overcome other barriers, such as identifying and engaging patients in care,” lead study author Dr. Margaret Lowenstein of the University of Pennsylvania said in a news release.