Inpatient pain management order sets are an important and necessary tool for standardizing and enhancing pain management for patients with traumatic injury. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of revised inpatient pain management electronic order sets on opioid usage for patients with significant chest wall trauma.
A retrospective pre-post study was conducted for adult patients with 3 or more rib fractures admitted to the hospital at a Level 1 trauma center. Two periods were compared: 1 year prior to the order set changes and the period immediately after the revisions were implemented. Differences between medians were assessed using Kruskal–Wallis test by ranks, and differences between nominal variables were assessed with χ2 test.
Twenty-five patients were analyzed for each period. There was no significant change between periods in the total amount of opioid received per day. There was a significant reduction in intravenous (IV) opioid use on the general inpatient floor (61% vs. 24%, p = .01), as well as in the percentage of patients who received IV opioid within 24 hr of discharge (40% vs. 4%, p = .002).
Revised inpatient pain management order sets did not reduce overall opioid usage in a population of patients with 3 or more rib fractures. However, significant improvements were noted in decreased IV opioid usage on the general inpatient floors and within 24 hr of patient discharge from the hospital.