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Improving Care for Hospitalized Patients with Opioid Use Disorder


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is the chronic use of opioids that causes clinically significant distress or impairment. Opioid use disorders affect over 16 million people worldwide and over 2.1 million in the United States. Overdose deaths are rising at an unprecedented rate. Highly effective medications for OUD, including methadone and buprenorphine, have the potential to reduce overdose deaths. Yet, relatively few hospitalized patients with opioid-related conditions receive substance use treatment during their inpatient stay making it more likely they will experience subsequent hospitalizations for continued OUD. Hospitalization represents an important opportunity to identify and treat patients with OUD. Hospitalists and other hospital-based clinicians require the knowledge, evidence-based strategies and tools to support the appropriate identification and treatment of hospitalized patients with OUD.

SHM has developed a primer reviewing OUD treatment considerations for the hospitalized patient as well as a discussion guide which may be used in conjunction with the primer to identify optimal strategies for improving care for this patient population.


Learning materials include:

  • An educational primer which provides a thorough overview of OUD, as well as medication-assisted treatment (MOUD) and the various treatment strategies and modalities for providing and improving care for patients with OUD.
  • A discussion guide with clinical scenarios in a case study format which reviews how to identify patients with OUD, initiate treatment and facilitate transitions of care strategies.
  • A module-based live interview reviewing best practices for how to use the guide to support discussions with and care for hospitalized patients with OUD.
  • An interactive resource for patients explaining their diagnosis, potential treatment options and the importance of follow-up once discharged from the hospital.



[1] Chang HY, Kharrazi H, Bodycombe D, Weiner JP, Alexander GC. Healthcare costs and utilization associated with high-risk prescription opioid use: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Med. 2018 May 16;16(1):69.  

[2] Blanchard J, Weiss AJ, Barrett ML, Stocks C, Owens PL, Coffey R, Heslin KC. Readmissions Following Inpatient Treatment for Opioid-Related Conditions. Subst Use Misuse. 2019;54(3):473-481.  


These resources were developed with grant funding provided by Elsevier.