As a New England sports fan, this week has been kind of tough. Not only have we lost Vince Wilfork and now Darrell Revis is gone, too? And to the Jets goodbyeof all teams?!?! But, my friends remind me that I can’t think of it emotionally because after all, NFL is a business. It’s hard to say good-bye, especially when you have vested time and energy (hours and hours of cheering, yelling at the TV, making it to the SuperBowl and celebrating). Alas, I digress.

My time at the AORN Surgical Summit and EXPO this week has been eye-opening and in some ways brings in examples of saying good-bye. In healthcare, we need to say good-bye to things that don’t work, create or maintain inefficiencies. We cannot continue on the path we have been just because “this is how we do it.” That mentality is a feeding ground for waste – wasting time and money.

For example (because I like to work from case studies or stories), my poster at AORN dealt with Nurses’ Level of Awareness of the Use of Opioids and their Impact on opioid-related adverse events in the postsurgical setting (after surgery but before you go home). I have a poster at ASPAN next month that presents results from nurses telling me about the impact opioids have on their workflow, job satisfaction, ability to care for patients, etc. in the postsurgical setting (after surgery but before you go home). A lot of opioids are being used (about 95% of patients receive them and go home with them) and some people get sick or have side effects from them. Opioids are also time consuming for nurses because they not only have to monitor the patient and their pain but they have to monitor any equipment being used to deliver the medication, make sure the medication is available, etc. – and some of this takes away from their ability to provide direct patient care.

What does any of this have to do with saying good-bye? We a community and as patients, we could say good-bye to the overuse of opioids. There are non-opioid alternatives available; however, for multiple reasons like “this is how we have always done it” or equipment providers want to keep their pumps in action or just a lack of familiarity non-opioid alternatives in the hospital aren’t as common.

Saying good-bye is hard to do but when it makes for a good business decision: shorter time in the hospital, pain control, less costs and less opioids going home (good for potentially decreasing our opioid epidemic in the US) – it’s got to be done. Bill Belichick seems to understand this – how about healthcare?

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