Northside project cuts narcotic use after surgery

MAPS Team Duluth USE

A quality improvement project at Northside Hospital Duluth reduced recovery times and cut the use of narcotics. 

“These outcomes not only improved patient recovery and satisfaction but also contributed to mitigating the opioid crisis at a broader level,” said Ashlynn Penna, DNP, R.N., NPD-BC, CPAN, CAPA, program navigator and clinical specialist for perianesthesia services at Northside Duluth. 

Northside Hospital Duluth earned a 2024 Patient Safety and Quality Award from the Georgia Hospital Association for the project, “From Pilot to Program: Implementation of a Multimodal Analgesic Protocol for Total Joint Patients.” 

Penna, Ashlynn MUGHow it worked: Dr. Penna said her team put a multimodal analgesic protocol in place. It integrated spinal anesthesia with regional anesthesia techniques and non-opioid medications. 

  • Diverse health care teams adhered to the “Plan-Do-Study-Act” framework to enable systematic data collection and analysis, Dr. Penna said. 
  • She said “teamwork and interprofessional collaboration” made the project a success, and that the effort “represented a deep-seated commitment to enhancing patient care quality.” 

Why it matters: The new protocol improved patient outcomes and showed a potential for wider use to address public health challenges — particularly the opioid epidemic. 

What happened: The program saw a 10% reduction in recovery times and a 76% reduction in narcotic use, Dr. Penna said. 

  • These outcomes not only improved patient recovery and satisfaction but also contributed to mitigating the opioid crisis at a broader level, Dr. Penna said. 

Learn more about Northside’s GHA safety and quality awards. 

Pictured: Members of the Multimodal Analgesic Protocol Strategic Implementation Team at Northside Hospital Duluth are, from left, Dr. Ashlynn Penna, program navigator and clinical specialist for Perianesthesia Services; Jessica Partadiharja, orthopedic program manager and clinical specialist for orthopedics; Kalita Jackson, orthopedic and total joint clinical practice specialist; Mark Thomas, executive leadership and surgical services champion; Dr. Robert Wood, orthopedic surgeon champion; Dr. Keith Carnes, anesthesia provider champion; and Cooper Baker, perianesthesia services champion. 


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