Emergency Physicians’ Perception of Barriers and Facilitators for Adopting an Opioid Prescribing Guideline in Ohio: A Qualitative Interview Study

Jonathan Penm, Neil J. MacKinnon, Chloe Connelly, Rebecca Mashni, Michael S. Lyons, Edmond A. Hooker, Erin L. Winstanley, Steve Carlton-Ford, Erica Tolle, Jill Boone, Kathleen Koechlin, Jolene Defiore-Hyrmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Ohio has the fifth highest rate of prescription opioid overdose deaths in the United States. One strategy implemented to address this concern is a state-wide opioid prescribing guideline in the emergency department (ED). Objective: Our aim was to explore emergency physicians’ perceptions on barriers and strategies for the Ohio ED opioid prescribing guideline. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with emergency physicians in Ohio were conducted from October to December 2016. Emergency physicians were recruited through the American College of Emergency Physicians Ohio State Chapter. The interview guide explored issues related to the implementation of the guidelines. Interview data were transcribed and thematically analyzed and coded using a scheme of inductively determined labels. Results: In total, we conducted 20 interviews. Of these, 11 were also the ED medical director at their institution. Main themes we identified were: 1) increased organizational responsibility, 2) improved prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) integration, 3) concerns regarding patient satisfaction scores, and 4) increased patient involvement. In addition, some physicians wanted the guidelines to contain more clinical information and be worded more strongly against opioid prescribing. Emergency physicians felt patient satisfaction scores were perceived to negatively impact opioid prescribing guidelines, as they may encourage physicians to prescribe opioids. Furthermore, some participants reported that this is compounded if the emergency physicians’ income was linked to their patient satisfaction score. Conclusions: Emergency physicians interviewed generally supported the state-wide opioid prescribing guideline but felt hospitals needed to take additional organizational responsibility for addressing inappropriate opioid prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ohio
  • emergency
  • guidelines
  • opioid
  • prescribing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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