About AHRQ's Six Building Blocks: A Team-Based Approach To Improving Opioid Management in Primary Care Program
The AHRQ Six Building Blocks: A Team-Based Approach to Improving Opioid Management in Primary Care (6BBs or Building Blocks) program is an implementation blueprint to guide opioid management. The program was derived from best practices taken among 20 primary care clinics across the United States that were identified as having exemplar, team-based clinical innovations.
The goal of the Building Blocks program is to facilitate evidence-based quality improvement. It supports team-based systems-level clinical changes to help patients with chronic pain maximize their functional status and quality of life with a treatment plan that minimizes risk to patients and clinicians alike.
To facilitate use of the program, AHRQ funded the development of evidence-based resources to improve a primary care clinic's management of patients who are on long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain. The 6BBs program addresses these key areas:
- Demonstrating leadership support.
- Revising and aligning clinic policies, patient agreements, and workflows.
- Tracking and monitoring the population of patients using long-term opioid therapy.
- Conducting planned, patient-centered visits.
- Caring for patients with complex needs.
- Measuring success.
In 2020, AHRQ posted a Self-Service How-To Guide on the AHRQ website while it was being pilot tested by primary care clinics. Using the input, AHRQ developed and released the Six Building Blocks: A Team-Based Approach to Improving Opioid Management in Primary Care How-To-Implement Toolkit in 2021. The How-To-Implement Toolkit assists clinics in improving opioid management without external support.
The Six Building Blocks: A Team-Based Approach to Improving Opioid Management in Primary Care (6BBs or Building Blocks) program was originally created by the WWAMI region Practice Research Network, funded by the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (UL1 TR002319). AHRQ facilitated expansion of the 6BBs program through grants: R18 HS23750-01, R18 HS23750-02, and R18 HS23750-0.
Further funding for the Building Blocks program was provided by Washington State Department of Health subcontract (HED23124) of Cooperative U17CE002734, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional support for the 6BBs program came from the Washington State Department of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Washington State's Olympic Communities of Health.
AHRQ also contracted with Abt Associates—in collaboration with the University of Washington and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute—to develop the "Six Building Blocks: A Team-Based Approach to Improving Opioid Management in Primary Care How-To-Implement Toolkit"; this work was done under Contract No. HHSP233201500013I, "Evaluating and Implementing the Six Building Blocks Team Approach to Improve Opioid Management in Primary Care."