PROJECT SUMMARIES: 12345678910

Help the CDC create a decision checklist that supports new opioid prescribing guidelines

Situation

The United States faces an unprecedented opioid and heroin addiction crisis. Rising rates of prescription opioid use correspond with increased harm to patients, and fuel use of cheaper illicit opioids like heroin, resulting in a serious and urgent public health challenge.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. The guideline provides recommendations for primary care practices, including strategies for assessing and reducing the potential for harm that can result from prescribed opioids.

Emphatic Communications was hired to work with a team of independent experts and a team at the CDC to create a practical tool that could help clinicians understand and follow the new guidelines.

How we helped

Our role was to coordinate input from both teams, develop prototypes, analyze feedback from user testing cycles, optimize the information design, and create a visual design compatible with related opioid materials and resources.

We helped the teams define and describe critical pause points in clinical workflow, prioritize key assessment and prescribing behaviors, craft actionable language that is both concise and clear, and present the content in a practical user-friendly format.

Outcomes

  • Transformed a complex preliminary treatment algorithm into a practical tool shaped by leading addiction experts and validated by primary care physicians.
  • Delivered a validated decision checklist tool (multiple prototype/test/revision cycles) within a 10-week development cycle.

Services provided

  • Design strategy and facilitation
  • Prototyping and research
  • Information design and layout

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