St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey has been among the forefront of medical providers who are attempting to stem the U.S. opioid addiction epidemic where it often starts: the Emergency Department.
Fujifilm SonoSite has been delighted to work with St. Joseph’s anesthetic specialists to provide ultrasound imaging at the point of care, which can help physicians locate nerves that can benefit from a nerve block. Combined with other analgesics (even traditional OTC medications like Advil), these multi-modal pain control methods have helped St. Joseph cut their opioid prescriptions in the ED by 58% in the first year.
According to Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at St. Joseph's, the opioid prescription rate continued to drop, bringing the total opioid Rx reduction rate to 82% at the end of year 2.
"It took a little bit of getting used to," says Dr. Ninad Shroff, an attending physician in St. Joseph's ER. "I've been doing this for about 20 years, so for me, it was a big change."
Two years into the alternatives-to-opioids program, however, Shroff says during some shifts in the ER, where he mainly treats bumps, bruises and other musculoskeletal injuries, he doesn't prescribe a single opioid. He still finds that "unbelievable," he says.