Addressing the Opioid Crisis Through Technology

In the past, we’ve talked about the value and difficulties associated with interoperability between various health systems.  There are certainly benefits in everyday care, but recently, this topic has landed on a much more serious issue, the United States’ opioid crisis.

Starting yesterday, Representative Greg Walden (R-OR), began a two-day hearing that included 25 bills that address different ways to tackle the problem.  Two of the proposed pieces of legislation are supported by AHIMA, the American Health Information Management Association.  These bills are H.R.3545, the Overdose Prevention and Safety Act, and S.1850, Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act.  Both bills are aimed at increasing communication among health systems and physicians, to be able to better treat their patients.

The problem now, is that information regarding patients’ treatment or history of use with opioids isn’t something that can be readily shared.  Some states even restrict access to prescription data.  Currently, patient consent is required, which makes it difficult for doctors in the ER or even general practitioners to be able to treat patients most effectively.

Privacy will always be a concern when dealing with medical records, and fears related to HIPAA or any lost patient information will be paramount in these discussions.  What is important though, and what will save lives, is giving doctors the ability to recognize trends in patient behavior and be able to make treatment decisions without starting from a blank slate.

There are certainly other concerns, including over-prescription, pill mills, kickbacks, and more, but allowing some of the excellent technology already put in place would make a substantive difference in doctors’ ability to fight this epidemic.

Extract’s solution is designed to make sure medical professionals can use their expertise most effectively.  We believe that clinicians should be spending their time working with patients as opposed to searching through pdfs or faxes to enter or find crucial information.  Our automated workflow solutions can help you get back to what’s most important, your patients.


About the Author: Chris Mack

Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing.  Chris received his bachelor’s degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.