Writing About the Opioid Crisis
As a freelance writer for a variety of healthcare-focused clients, I’ve had the opportunity to write about the opioid crisis more than once in recent months.
The first opportunity came last fall, for the Q3 2017 issue of HealthTrust’s The Source magazine. The cover story is about the innovate way that San Diego-based Scripps Health is confronting the crisis—through a new perioperative opioid stewardship program. In layman’s terms, that means changing how pain is managed when someone has surgery. Before, a patient might be discharged with a prescription for painkillers—and a refill or two to keep the pain at bay. Now, Scripps sets expectations up front that some pain is expected, it has re-educated clinical staff on pain management protocols, and has developed multimodal pain management techniques that may very well include Tylenol and/or ibuprofen.
I parlayed the knowledge gained from writing that article into an assignment for the Nashville Post’s annual Vitals healthcare magazine. I looked into how Tennessee providers are responding to the opioid epidemic. The response has been slow-going, as hospital innovation typically moves at a snail’s pace, but they’re working on flipping the script (I couldn’t help myself there). Read the feature, ‘Some Bright Spots.’