AffirmHealth Blog


The Evolution of Health Tech Aimed at the Opioid Crisis

Apr 18, 2019 8:30:00 AM by Mario Ramirez, MD

One of our recent posts, “Prescribing Intelligence: The Role of Data Analytics in Combatting the Opioid Epidemic,” focused on the usefulness of data within clinical decision support tools to help clinicians at the patient bedside.  In that article, we made the key point that “analyzing and accurately indexing data” is a critical hurdle that must be crossed if big data is going to be useful for clinical care delivery.  

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The Rural-Urban Opioid Divide and the Space In-Between

Mar 26, 2019 10:00:00 AM by Mario Ramirez, MD posted in Opioid Epidemic, fentanyl, controlled substances

In my day to day emergency medicine practice, I routinely treat and manage opioid related overdoses, sometimes as frequently as three or four patients a day. And while the emergency clinical care of an opioid overdose is the same in rural, suburban, and urban emergency departments, I’ve often felt myself wondering what it is that drives the differences in these groups.

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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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Opioids & Driving: Know the Risks

Feb 25, 2019 2:03:00 PM by Jody Lutz

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.

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HHS Interagency Task Force on Pain Management Attracts Some Controversy

Feb 12, 2019 3:00:00 PM by Mario Ramirez, MD posted in Pain Management, regulations


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.

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We've launched Shield on the athenahealth Marketplace

Jan 31, 2019 8:33:00 AM by Mitch Evans

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.

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New York's Drug Take Back Act

Jan 23, 2019 3:19:42 PM by Jody Lutz

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).

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Talking to Your Patients About Opioid Abuse: A Clinician’s Guide

Jan 16, 2019 9:08:02 AM by Mario Ramirez, MD

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.

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