A new protocol has been established at Hayward Area Memorial Hospital in Hayward, WI to combat the epidemic of opioid addiction. Opioids produce a sense of well-being or euphoria that can be addictive. In 2016, death from opioid overdoses in Minnesota and Wisconsin reached 1,261.
The program, which was recently featured on KBJR6 News
, is called ALTO, meaning “alternative to opioids.” Its intent is to decrease the number of patients receiving opioids in the Emergency Department. As part of the ALTO initiative, opioids such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, and Fentanyl will be replaced with medications such as ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, and acetaminophen in certain instances of pain control.
Hayward is hoping to see at least a 15% reduction in the administration of opioids as a result of this new protocol. A similar program in a Colorado hospital saw an opioid reduction of 36% in its first year. Michigan and Illinois have adopted similar programs.
Dayle Quigley, MD serves as the ER Medical Director at Hayward Hospital. She notes, “There’s nothing that says you can’t use an opioid. What this says is let’s try to use something else that may be every bit effective.”
Dr. Quigley further states, “The goal is if you have ten patients come in, and in the past, those ten patients would have got an opioid. Now we take those, and we give an alternative and you give the alternative and only … four of that ten need an opioid … you have saved six people from being exposed to an opioid … If we can stop that cycle from ever starting, then we’ve made huge strides.”
Luke Beirl, CEO of Hayward Area Memorial Hospital, was also interviewed as part of KBJR6’s reporting. Beirl says, “Trying to do our part to eliminate or at least minimize the use of opioids or misuse of opioids is really what created the impetus to move forward with the ALTO project.” He further notes, “Changing behavior and changing prescribing practices is never easy but like any high-quality health care provider, we’re using evidence-based medicine to drive the decisions we make.”
Read the full story on KBJR6’s website
or watch the video below.
To learn more about ALTO, visit http://www.wisconsinacep.org/resources/Documents/WACEP%20ALTO%20Pathways%2009112018.pdf