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As an organization, part of our mission is to provide up-to-date information on opioid related news as well as state and federal guidelines and regulations for opioid prescribing. Our resource library is designed to educate healthcare professionals in order to facilitate better opioid prescriber compliance across healthcare organizations. Our software platform, Shield, incorporates the applicable state and federal regulations clinicians must adhere to, enabling healthcare systems to prescribe opioids more responsibly.
Overprescription of opioids has recently become a major concern in the medical field. Only two decades ago, the medical community promoted opioids as non-addictive and encouraged prescribing opioids to treat the fifth vital sign - pain.
The reasons for overprescription vary, but as one doctor's story shows, medical students were once advised by their teachers and mentors to prescribe more pills so that patients wouldn't have to call back for a prescription refill or to ensure they were effectively managing a patient's pain.
Today, prescribing as many as 30-60 pills has become the norm, built into muscle memory of physicians who already have overextended workloads, and therefore limited time to search for and review state and federal guidelines. Ultimately, most physicians have their patient's best interest in mind as they provide care, but the EHR systems and technology that clinicians use is missing a key aspect of combating overprescribing - compliance monitoring.
Overprescribing of opioids can be dangerous for patients, with one in 16 becoming chronic opioid users, and detrimental for hospitals and healthcare systems where the consequences for overprescribing are growing.
The administrative risks of overprescribing opioids
In response to the opioid epidemic, the Justice Department announced that it would focus efforts to crack down on providers who are prescribing "unusual or disproportionate" amounts of opioids. The legal and financial consequences of irresponsible opioid prescribing has even led some physicians to stop prescribing them.
In 2017, The Maryland State Board of Physicians suspended the license of a Baltimore physician for allegedly overprescribing opioids. They claim the doctor gave out excessive amounts of pain killers. The Board also claims that opioids were prescribed even when the patient tested positive for illegal drugs.
Additionally, Medicare's new opioid regulations state that long term high-dose prescriptions will no longer be covered by Medicare. Some have praised the action, but there is plenty of objection from primary care physicians, pain management experts, and chronic pain sufferers who are concerned with the government being involved in patient treatment. They say there is the risk of pain sufferers being cut-off from their medications prematurely which could lead to withdrawals and searching out illicit drugs, as suggested by the rise in Fentanyl related deaths.
Addressing and seeking solutions to prescription opioid abuse has fallen heavily on the shoulders of primary healthcare providers. The conundrum for these providers is how to effectively provide pain relief for patients, most of which have been on opioid therapy for many years, who rely on opioids to maintain a reasonable standard of living, while prescribing within the guidelines of the state and federal government opioid prescribing regulations.
Responsible opioid prescribing with Shield
As the healthcare industry reacts to the growing opioid epidemic, AffirmHealth's Shield software platform offers a viable solution to reinforce responsible opioid prescribing throughout an entire organization.
Shield is a clinician-facing tool that integrates into an organization's EHR system to ensure their prescribing habits comply with federal and state opioid prescribing laws while offering individual evaluation of patient risk levels.
Our solution provides real-time assessment of opioid prescribing habits whether it is within a clinic, practice, or entire healthcare system. Further, these assessments are customized to incorporate each healthcare organization's existing prescribing guidelines, insurance payer policies, and state regulations. We begin every partnership by learning the organization's processes around prescribing to then co-develop prescribing protocols that set the standard for our software.
AffirmHealth's Shield solution provides healthcare system administrators and clinical leaders the ability to monitor prescribing habits, maintain transparency about the organization's opioid prescribing policies, and ultimately encourage providers to responsibly prescribe opioids for pain management.
Want to learn how your organization can benefit from AffirmHealth's Shield opioid prescription monitoring platform? Schedule a call below:
The information presented on or through this website is made available solely for general information purposes and is not intended to substitute for professional, medical or legal advice. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this information. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. We disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on such materials.