Progress Report on EMBED: A Pragmatic Trial of User-Centered Clinical Decision Support to Implement EMergency Department-Initiated BuprenorphinE for Opioid Use Disorder

J Psychiatr Brain Sci. 2020;5:e200003. doi: 10.20900/jpbs.20200003. Epub 2020 Feb 21.


Buprenorphine (BUP) can safely and effectively reduce craving, overdose, and mortality rates in people with opioid use disorder (OUD). However, adoption of ED-initiation of BUP has been slow partly due to physician perception this practice is too complex and disruptive. We report progress of the ongoing EMBED (EMergency department-initiated BuprenorphinE for opioid use Disorder) project. This project is a five-year collaboration across five healthcare systems with the goal to develop, integrate, study, and disseminate user-centered Clinical Decision Support (CDS) to promote the adoption of Emergency Department (ED)-initiation of buprenorphine/naloxone (BUP) into routine emergency care. Soon to enter its third year, the project has already completed multiple milestones to achieve its goals including (1) user-centered design of the CDS prototype, (2) integration of the CDS into an automated electronic health record (EHR) workflow, (3) data coordination including derivation and validation of an EHR-based computable phenotype, (4) meeting all ethical and regulatory requirements to achieve a waiver of informed consent, (5) pilot testing of the intervention at a single site, and (6) launching a parallel group-randomized 18-month pragmatic trial in 20 EDs across 5 healthcare systems. Pilot testing of the intervention in a single ED was associated with increased rates of ED-initiated BUP and naloxone prescribing and a doubling of the number of unique physicians adopting the practice. The ongoing multi-center pragmatic trial will assess the intervention's effectiveness, scalability, and generalizability with a goal to shift the emergency care paradigm for OUD towards early identification and treatment.

Trial registration: # NCT03658642.

Keywords: buprenorphine; clinical decision support systems; electronic health records; health informatics; health information technology; medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD); opioid use disorder; opioid-related disorders; quality improvement; user-centered design.

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