AffirmHealth Blog


Prescribing Intelligence: The Role of Data Analytics in Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

Mar 13, 2019 9:27:00 AM by John Cole

The opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on the public’s health, wellbeing, and its wallet. In recent years, the regulatory efforts to stem the crisis have significantly decreased opioid prescribing, but not without a cost. Clinicians who prescribe opioids are acutely aware of the regulatory oversight intended to cut down overprescribing, and this has stoked a “climate of fear” when prescribing. As such, patients suffering from chronic pain who have relied on opioid medications for years have reported that their physicians have either stopped prescribing opioids entirely or involuntarily tapered them to doses that do not adequately address their pain.

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2018 DEA Drug Threat Assessment: Key Findings

Jan 9, 2019 9:04:33 AM by John Cole

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

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Prescribing Authority and Restrictions: A State-by-State Overview

Jul 10, 2018 8:23:00 AM by John Cole posted in PDMPs, regulations, compliance, opioid prescribing, prescription drug monitoring, opioid legislation

To address our nation's opioid epidemic, states are increasingly taking action at the prescription level. This includes enacting mandates on prescribers and their controlled substance prescriptions. Legislators have focused on opioid prescriptions in order to prevent overprescribing, and the resulting regulations primarily fall into four categories:

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Are You Effectively Assessing Risk When Prescribing Opioids?

Apr 3, 2018 5:04:00 AM by John Cole posted in Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, opioid prescribing, risk assessment

The staggering rate of prescription opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose has placed a heavy burden on prescribing clinicians and their practices. Federal and state regulators have responded by enacting extensive opioid prescribing guidelines. Across the board, these guidelines prioritize the importance of properly assessing a patient’s risk of misuse or abuse.

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Does Your Practice Have Effective Opioid Prescribing Protocols?

Feb 27, 2018 11:28:51 AM by John Cole posted in prescriber compliance, opioid prescribing, prescribing protocols

Why you need prescribing protocols

In an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, state and federal governments continue to introduce regulations and guidelines for prescribing controlled substances. In addition, insurance payers have issued policies for prescribers. 

While these guidelines and policies have assisted in the fight against the opioid epidemic, they aren’t static or consistent and have left prescribers overwhelmed with trying to keep up.

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Hudson: How to End the Opioid Epidemic? Contain, Reduce, Extinguish

May 15, 2017 2:30:00 PM by John Cole posted in Opioid Epidemic

The Hudson Institute’s recent briefing paper, “A Strategy to Counter the Opioid Epidemic: Contain, Reduce, Extinguish” delivers a clear explanation of our nation’s opioid problem, and importantly, a comprehensive approach to address the issue.

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PDMP State Mandates: Here to Stay for the Foreseeable Future

Jan 26, 2017 8:48:12 AM by John Cole posted in PDMPs, Opioid Epidemic

A recent Washington Post article highlights the fact that states are quickly adopting comprehensive mandates requiring doctors who prescribe opioids and other controlled substances to check a patient’s prescription history within the statewide database (prescription drug monitoring program – PDMP). To date, eighteen states have implemented these mandates and it is likely that adoption will continue to increase in the coming months and years.  Bottom line—mandates are here to stay.

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What can states do to stop the opioid crisis: Increasing prescriber use of prescription drug monitoring programs is critical to stopping opioid misuse and overdose deaths

Dec 20, 2016 10:54:12 AM by John Cole posted in Healthcare, PDMPs, Opioid Epidemic

Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. The growth of the opioid crisis has generated an outcry for more resources to fight addition and provide proper treatment. Policymakers and public health officials are increasingly using new tools such as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs)—state-based electronic databases that track the dispensing of certain controlled substances, including prescription opioids—to curb misuse and reduce overdose deaths. While PDMPs have been proven to be effective, the number of prescribers using these databases in clinical care remains low[1].

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