Use of a Benchmark Tracking Assessment to Support Expansion of Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care

J Am Board Fam Med. 2021 Nov-Dec;34(6):1216-1220. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2021.06.210111.


Introduction: Barriers to the expansion of opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment in primary care using buprenorphine are well documented. Providers require support along a continuum. A systematic tracking framework to enhance provider progress along this continuum is lacking.

Methods: We developed a benchmark tracking assessment (BTA) as part of data collection in a 5-year study to examine the impact of provider participation in an online intervention to support expansion of buprenorphine treatment for OUD in rural primary care. Providers were contacted via phone every 3 months for up to 2 years to track their advancement along the 5 identified key benchmarks and were offered support for any barriers encountered.

Results: Forty-one providers enrolled in the study. Almost half (49%) did not experience a barrier that prevented them from accomplishing their next benchmark. Of the remaining 51% of providers, the majority (75%) experienced barriers early in the training and licensure phases, with most citing lack of time as the main reason.

Conclusion: The BTA offers a feasible approach to identifying challenges along the training to prescription continuum and facilitated targeted support to address barriers. This framework has the potential, with locally contextual adaptations, to guide medication-assisted treatment implementation and training efforts.

Keywords: Access to Health Care; Benchmarking; Buprenorphine; Extensions for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO); Internet-Based Intervention; Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid; Opioid-Related Disorders; Opioids; Primary Health Care.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Benchmarking
  • Buprenorphine* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Primary Health Care


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Buprenorphine