At AffirmHealth we have focused extensively on covering our nation's drug crisis -- it’s impact on patients, physicians and their practices. We have studied the changing laws and dynamics around how practitioners prescribe and the resulting effect on patients. Today we are taking the discussion to the open road, a topic that has been covered by many a country and western ballad and is part of the American way of life.
Task Force Releases Draft Report
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 established a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, chaired by Dr. Vanila Singh, under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Task Force is made up of representatives from across HHS, the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and non-federal representatives from experts and stakeholder groups. It is charged with delivering their final report to Congress in 2019, but released their draft findings in early January this year. The report is open for a 90-day comment and public input period before the draft will be revised and submitted to Congress later this year.
The Shield platform now integrates with athenaClinicals to help medical group leaders proactively manage and measure opioid prescribing, so they can have the assurance of responsible prescribing across the organization.
A report released in November of 2018, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show that drug overdoses killed a record number of more than 70,000 Americans in 2017. To put this phenomenon into perspective, drug overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., car crashes, or gun violence at their peaks.
We at AffirmHealth report often about the nationwide epidemic, but today we take a closer look at the state of New York. In 2015, New York prescribers wrote 10.2 million opioid prescriptions or 51.3 prescriptions per 100 patients–a 7.8 percent decline since 2013. This is also less than the national rate of 71 prescriptions per 100 patients (IMS Health).
At AffirmHealth, our work focuses around working with clinicians to ensure that they are prescribing opioids in a reliable and compliant manner that gives administrators insight into what is happening across their organizations. From the clinician’s viewpoint, my job is to help ensure that the clinical information and the decision support we implement works in a way that actually improves care delivery to the patient—after all, if our work isn’t actually making care better, then we’re doing a disservice to the patient. While our blog has covered a wide range of critical issues around these topics, one thing we’ve never actually discussed is how clinicians should approach the topic of opioid abuse with their patients, strategies for successful risk screening, and what to do if one of your patients develops an opioid use disorder.
In November of 2018, the DEA released the results of the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. The 164 page report highlighted the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. The DEA’s acting administrator, Uttam Dhillon, said the assessment “underscores the magnitude of the nation’s opioid crisis and highlights the necessity of using all the tools at our disposal to fight this epidemic.”1
The Opioid Epidemic in America is a topic covered extensively, each and every day in the news. AffirmHealth covers this topically frequently as well, most recently in our, "Where are We Now?" article.
Historically, research has shown that nearly 1 in 4 high school seniors in the United States have been exposed to prescription opioids through either medical or non-medical use. On November 12, 2018 a JAMA abstract reported: Between 1997 and 2012, the rate of hospitalization due to opioid poisonings nearly doubled in US children and adolescents. Opioid use early in life is associated with a higher likelihood of opioid misuse in the future.
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