A Quality Framework for Emergency Department Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Mar;73(3):237-247. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.08.439. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Emergency clinicians are on the front lines of responding to the opioid epidemic and are leading innovations to reduce opioid overdose deaths through safer prescribing, harm reduction, and improved linkage to outpatient treatment. Currently, there are no nationally recognized quality measures or best practices to guide emergency department quality improvement efforts, implementation science researchers, or policymakers seeking to reduce opioid-associated morbidity and mortality. To address this gap, in May 2017, the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Center for the Clinical Trials Network convened experts in quality measurement from the American College of Emergency Physicians' (ACEP's) Clinical Emergency Data Registry, researchers in emergency and addiction medicine, and representatives from federal agencies, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Drawing from discussions at this meeting and with experts in opioid use disorder treatment and quality measure development, we developed a multistakeholder quality improvement framework with specific structural, process, and outcome measures to guide an emergency medicine agenda for opioid use disorder policy, research, and clinical quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / poisoning
  • Consensus
  • Drug Overdose / prevention & control*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Patient Care / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Quality Improvement
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid