There are many strategies a health plan may consider when launching an opioid safety initiative. We recommend starting with the strategies that are easy to implement and will have the most impact. Once you start to see positive change, you can use the momentum to advance the initiative and implement more complex strategies. To help guide your effort, we provide tools to assess potential initiatives for their feasibility and impact, a sample work plan to help you sequence activities, and a project management checklist.
How to Do It
- Assemble a portfolio of potential initiatives.
- Rank them according to their impact and ease of implementation.
- Create a change program that begins with the high-impact, easy-to-implement initiatives.
- Celebrate the early victories.
- Lay the foundation for high-impact, longer-term change.
Health Plan Stories
Blue Shield of California
Inland Empire Health Plan and the Inland Empire Opioid Crisis Coalition
The coalition’s ED toolkit was a success and was celebrated as a win. This quick win was a catalyst for increased focus on partnerships between EDs and outpatient primary care providers. The coalition created momentum and secured the organizational relationships necessary to implement a broad strategy to fight the opioid epidemic.
Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Following on the heels of its first initiative, Kaiser Permanente Southern California quickly moved to target members on high doses of opioids who were at risk of overdose or death (e.g., starting with doses over 500 morphine milligram equivalents and then moving on to lower doses).
Partnership HealthPlan of California
Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) recognized that its physician network could not change its prescribing habits overnight. Vicodin dropped from the first to the fourth most-prescribed drug among PHC prescribers. PHC continues to meet with and communicate regularly with prescribers about appropriate prescribing practices and to intervene with individual prescribers as needed.
Initiative Ranking Tool
Use the Initiative Ranking Tool (ZIP) to help your leadership teams prioritize initiatives within their opioid safety strategy.
Project Management Checklist
As you plan for your initiative and develop your work plan, use the checklist below to ensure you have a plan you can control and manage. The checklist will help ensure your initiative is aligned with the organization’s goals.
Download the tool: Project Management Checklist (PDF).
Work Plan Template
A work plan is an essential tool for managing a project and tracking progress. This template (ZIP) tracks to the toolkit’s five chapters and the key steps within each. You should download and modify this template to reflect the scope of your opioid initiative and the steps you will take to achieve the initiative’s goals. Please refer to the Project Management Checklist as you develop your work plan.