Provider education leads to sustained reduction in pediatric opioid prescribing after surgery

J Pediatr Surg. 2022 Mar;57(3):474-478. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.08.004. Epub 2021 Aug 8.


Background: The majority of opioid overdose admissions in pediatric patients are associated with prescription opioids. Post-operative prescriptions are an addressable source of opioids in the household. This study aims to assess for sustained reduction in opioid prescribing after implementation of provider-based education at nine centers.

Methods: Opioid prescribing information was collected for pediatric patients undergoing umbilical hernia repair at nine centers between December 2018 and January 2019, one year after the start of an education intervention. This was compared to prescribing patterns in the immediate pre- and post-intervention periods at each of the nine centers.

Results: In the current study period, 29/127 (22.8%) patients received opioid prescriptions (median 8 doses) following surgery. There were no medication refills, emergency department returns or readmissions related to the procedure. There was sustained reduction in opioid prescribing compared to pre-intervention (22.8% vs 75.8% of patients, p<0.001, Fig. (1). Five centers showed statistically significant improvement and the other four demonstrated decreased prescribing, though not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Our multicenter study demonstrates sustained reduction in opioid prescribing after pediatric umbilical hernia repair after a provider-based educational intervention. Similar low-fidelity provider education interventions may be beneficial to improve opioid stewardship for a wider variety of pediatric surgical procedures.

Levels of evidence: (treatment study)-level 3.

Keywords: Education; Opioid, Pediatric surgery; Umbilical herniorrhaphy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Hernia, Umbilical* / surgery
  • Herniorrhaphy
  • Humans
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'


  • Analgesics, Opioid