- Cerner is launching a new suite of EHR-integrated health IT tools in the coming weeks designed to promote safer prescribing practices among clinicians in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic.
At the 2018 Cerner Health Conference (CHC), Cerner CEO Brent Shafer announced Cerner’s Opioid Toolkit. The toolkit includes several resources that will integrate directly into clinical workflows to make it easy for providers to improve opioid prescribing and prescription management.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the few things that Washington seems to be in agreement in acting on,” said Shafer. “This is one big impact we can have this year. For about a decade now, we’ve been investing in work to curb the opioid issue that is impacting so many communities across the country and the world.”
The Opioid Toolkit is designed to ensure safe prescribing practices among clinicians by helping prescribers identify patients who may be at risk for substance abuse disorder.
The toolkit includes data analytics capabilities that allow clinicians to assess prescribing patterns. Additionally, the suite of resources includes clinical decision support tools specifically tailored for opioid management and a substance use disorder risk assessment algorithm.
“There are over 2 million people [in America] currently impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said Shafer. “None should die from it. Are you willing to take that challenge? I hope you are.”
President and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Mark Mishek spoke to conference attendees about how clinicians can help to curb rising rates of substance abuse disorder by improving patient access to treatment, educating prescribers on the dangers of overprescribing, instating nationwide prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), and implementing comprehensive prevention efforts at healthcare organizations.
“Expand access at your hospital,” he encouraged. “I'm not talking about opening a treatment center. How well is your referral to treatment process working in your emergency department and clinics?”
“Engage your medical staff,” he continued. “We have seen over and over again that when our medical staff grabs hold of something and says, ‘We will be a force for change,’ it happens. Finally, use your EHR tools. Use your Cerner tools for appropriate surveillance to look at patterns.”
Engaging medical staff in prevention efforts and leveraging EHR tools to promote safer prescribing practices can help to address gaps in substance use disorder treatment.
“Look at the gaps we need to address: There’s the treatment gap,” Mishek said. “Only 1 out of 10 people who have an addiction disorder are getting the treatment they need. That’s 10 percent of 23 million affected who receive targeted treatment – compare that to 87 percent for diabetes.”
Earlier this year, CMS released an opioid roadmap to provide strategies to healthcare organizations to reduce opioid overuse among Medicare beneficiaries through improved healthcare interoperability.
The roadmap comprised a three-pronged approach involving prevention, treatment and data utilization strategies.
In addition to utilizing health data to target prevention and treatment efforts, CMS is also working to identify trends of fraud and abuse among patients.
CMS plans to leverage health data to understand opioid use patterns across populations, promote healthcare interoperability and health data exchange across the care continuum, and monitor trends to assess the effectiveness of prevention and treatment solutions.
“Data provides insight into doctor, pharmacy, and patient use of prescription opioids and effectiveness of treatment,” the federal agency stated.
PDMPs and EHR tools such as Cerner’s forthcoming Opioid Toolkit can enable better-informed prescribing practices among doctors and reduce the likelihood of patients visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions.