Baptist Memphis Earns Excellence in Medication Safety Award

The hospital reduced opioid use by 70% per 100 patient visits while increasing patient satisfaction

Opioid Prescription with warning to check if at risk patient

The ASHP Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation honored Baptist Memphis with the 2018 Award for Excellence in Medication Safety for its work in reducing the use of opioids for pain management in the emergency department.

The Award for Excellence in Medication Safety was established in 2004 to recognize pharmacy professionals who have assumed a leadership role in promoting safety in the medication-use process. For more information regarding the award, visit

“Baptist Memphis is an inspiration to all institutions looking to expand their medication safety efforts,” said ASHP Foundation CEO Steven A. Rubloff. “The hospital tackled tough challenges that confront every hospital and health system in the United States. This program provides an opportunity for us to recognize those who make improvements that not only benefit their institutions, but also the entire profession.”

Launched in March 2017, Baptist Memphis’ “opioid light” policy was created to reduce the amount of opioids patients receive and to reset patients’ expectation for pain management.

To help reduce opioid usage, the hospital’s pharmacy team developed order sets that included non-opioid pain relievers for conditions like migraines, kidney stones and broken bones. These alternative medications are not addictive and can be more effective in relieving some types of pain. To manage patients’ expectations for pain relief, the entire team prioritized talking to patients about what medications they would receive and why.