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Opioid Safety

Reduce adverse opioid-related events in your hospital with SHM.

Opioids are among the most common medications associated with serious harm in hospitalized patients. Hospitalists and hospital-based clinicians should be acutely aware of the importance of rigorous quality improvement and patient safety initiatives related to inpatient pain management.

In October 2016, the opioid epidemic became a national health emergency. "In 2016, the CDC reported that there were 28,000 deaths from opioid overdose in 2014; and over half of those were from prescription opioids."1

SHM developed resources for the hospital care team to reduce adverse drug events related to opioids.


SHM’s Reducing Adverse Drug Events related to Opioids (RADEO) Guide

SHM is committed to supporting hospitalists and their teams in developing comprehensive strategies and programs that will promote patient safety in the administration of opioid therapy.

The RADEO Implementation Guide provides step-by-step guidance to assist hospital teams in implementing a quality improvement program to improve patient safety and reduce opioid-related adverse events for patients receiving opioids, including:

  • Instituting safer opioid prescribing practices resulting in fewer adverse events, like dangerous over sedation, respiratory depression and death
  • Focusing on hospitalized patients, with essential building blocks for developing a quality improvement initiative addressing the inpatient setting
  • Creating a quality improvement project team in your hospital, gaining institutional support and securing buy-in of frontline staff to ensure successful implementation
  • Developing strategies for evaluating current processes, facilitating policy formation, identifying best practices and tracking progress against implementation goals
  • Optimizing care transitions for patients on opioid therapy in the outpatient setting
  • Exploring a customized approach to address the specific needs of your hospital

In February of 2017, the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM)’s Center for Quality Improvement (QI) has been distinguished by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for maintaining an ongoing collaborative partnership with the CMS to enhance patient safety, for which the RADEO Program played a pivitol role. Read SHM's Press Release.


This project was supported by a grant from Medtronic (formerly Covidien, LP).
The authors had full responsibility in designing and compiling the Guide. Medtronic (formerly Covidien, LP) had no involvement in, or influence over, the development of the content included in this Guide.


1Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016.