Pennsylvania + New Jersey – Surgical Opioid Stewardship

The Challenge

In 2017, the opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency. According to the CDC, overdose deaths are a leading cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S. with rates still on the rise. In 2021, more than 220 people died each day from an overdose death. Opioids can be effective for managing post-operative pain, but overprescribing and misuse can lead to opioid dependence and addiction.

What We Do

Our Solution

The Pennsylvania-New Jersey Surgical Opioid Stewardship (PENNJ-SOS) program is a collaborative of surgeons and surgical teams dedicated to developing and implementing strategies to prevent opioid use disorder while effectively managing post-operative pain.

To aid in opioid stewardship education and communication, PENNJ-SOS created multiple health-literate resources for both patients and clinicians.

In addition to the resources and program activities, a key component of PENNJ-SOS is data collection. Using a national registry (National Surgical Quality Improvement Program), hospitals collect perioperative data on surgical patients related to opioids, which provides surgical teams with benchmarking for quality improvement and research purposes. Findings, best practices, and innovations are shared at quarterly regional collaborative meetings.

surgical opiods internal
Managing Pain After Surgery with Opioids

Program Impact

Since September 2019, 11 NSQIP-participating PENNJ-SOS hospitals gathered data over 14,000 surgical patients across 13 procedures and six surgical specialties.

Decrease in post-operative opioid prescriptions for 50% of tracked procedures.

“The collaboration between the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) and the Pennsylvania NSQIP Consortium (PANC) in the efforts to prevent opioid addiction after surgery has been fantastic.”

Henry Pitt, MD, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Provider Toolkit

For clinicians and care teams, this toolkit offers resources to promote a culture of opioid stewardship.

Program Details

For more information or to get involved, contact Meghan Smith, Project Manager at

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