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How digital content is helping physicians curb the opioid abuse epidemic

By Stephen Smith, PA, MDE
Managing pain is, well, a pain. On one hand are the patients who are physically suffering, desperate for relief. On the other hand are the prescribers who are driven to help their patients but finding that their pain management protocols are now complicated by what the national opioid abuse epidemic has wrought. In fact, a poll of physicians within our digital community found that 64% believe that doctors have a responsibility to help curb the epidemic.

Health systems also have a responsibility to engage their physicians on this topic, offering education on tangible ways they can better address the growing epidemic —such as registering for and regularly using their state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing opioids to a patient. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PDMPs continue to be among the most promising interventions to improve painkiller prescribing, inform clinical practice, and protect patients at risk.

Acknowledging how time-pressed their physicians are, our health systems clients are using our concise web and mobile format to engage their affiliated doctors and other prescribers in this highly relevant topic. And there’s plenty of evidence that this approach works—having a measurable and almost immediate impact on how physicians approach opioid prescription in practice.

For example, over 1,500 members of our web and mobile physician community QuantiaMD recently engaged in an expert-led interactive presentation titled “Truth or Consequences: PDMP Impact on Prescription Decision Making” presented by Marianne Cloeren, MD, MPH, FACOEM Chair, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Council on OEM Practice. The interactive presentation (one in a series of expert-led presentations on the topic of pain management using opioids) offered clear education on the PDMP, and shared best practices for helping physicians make smarter prescribing decisions.

After interacting with the expert-led content:

–Over 61% of participating physicians say they will now check their state’s PDMP database for all patients to whom they prescribe a controlled substance – a 60% increase from before they engaged with the content

–Almost 30% say they will check it for patients prescribed controlled substances by other providers

Armed with this information, many providers are more confident in their prescribing decisions. In the words of one family practitioner after interacting with the digital content, “I use the PDMP and for some patients it has confirmed their story/history and allowed me to prescribe their medications more confidently. I feel better about continuing their medications.”opioid chart 4 2016
It’s just one example of how health systems are engaging their physicians with credible evidence on key clinical, operational, and administrative topics – delivered in a concise format that providers value –to make a real difference in care. After all, having physicians more frequently access these state PMDPs at the point of prescription can go a long way to preventing opioid and other prescription drug abuse nationwide.

In addition to expert-led content on QuantiaMD, Aptus Health offers physicians another unique way to stay current with the rapid changes in medicine, through our Univadis platform. The pain management topic found under most specialties at Univadis currently highlights curated synopses of the best literature dealing with the opioid abuse epidemic, including an overview of 12 predictors of patient risk in opioids.

5th May 2016



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