The Balanced Opioid Initiative: protocol for a clustered, sequential, multiple-assignment randomized trial to construct an adaptive implementation strategy to improve guideline-concordant opioid prescribing in primary care
BACKGROUND: Rates of opioid prescribing tripled in the USA between 1999 and 2015 and were associated with significant increases in opioid misuse and overdose death. Roughly half of all opioids are prescribed in primary care. Although clinical guidelines describe recommended opioid prescribing practices, implementing these guidelines in a way that balances safety and effectiveness vs. risk remains a challenge. The literature offers little help about which implementation strategies work best in different clinical settings or how strategies could be tailored to optimize their effectiveness in different contexts. Systems consultation consists of (1) educational/engagement meetings with audit and feedback reports, (2) practice facilitation, and (3) prescriber peer consulting. The study is designed to discover the most cost-effective sequence and combination of strategies for improving opioid prescribing practices in diverse primary care clinics.
METHODS/DESIGN: The study is a hybrid type 3 clustered, sequential, multiple-assignment randomized trial (SMART) that randomizes clinics from two health systems at two points, months 3 and 9, of a 21-month intervention. Clinics are provided one of four sequences of implementation strategies: a condition consisting of educational/engagement meetings and audit and feedback alone (EM/AF), EM/AF plus practice facilitation (PF), EM/AF + prescriber peer consulting (PPC), and EM/AF + PF + PPC. The study’s primary outcome is morphine-milligram equivalent (MME) dose by prescribing clinicians within clinics. The study’s primary aim is the comparison of EM/AF + PF + PPC versus EM/AF alone on change in MME from month 3 to month 21. The secondary aim is to derive cost estimates for each of the four sequences and compare them. The exploratory aim is to examine four tailoring variables that can be used to construct an adaptive implementation strategy to meet the needs of different primary care clinics.
DISCUSSION: Systems consultation is a practical blend of implementation strategies used in this case to improve opioid prescribing practices in primary care. The blend offers a range of strategies in sequences from minimally to substantially intensive. The results of this study promise to help us understand how to cost effectively improve the implementation of evidence-based practices.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04044521 (ClinicalTrials.gov). Registered 05 August 2019.
Quanbeck, A., Almirall, D., Jacobson, N., Brown, R. T., Landeck, J. K., Madden, L., . . . Schumacher, N. (2020). The Balanced Opioid Initiative: protocol for a clustered, sequential, multiple-assignment randomized trial to construct an adaptive implementation strategy to improve guideline-concordant opioid prescribing in primary care. Implement Sci, 15(1), 26. doi:10.1186/s13012-020-00990-4