Health IT Now’s Opioid Safety Alliance
NEW: Read Health IT Now's joint op-ed with Opioid Safety Alliance member NCPDP in The Hill, "A 21-st Century Solution to the Opioid Crisis," HERE.
The opioid crisis is a national health emergency impacting every community and every socio- economic and demographic group. Deaths from opioid abuse continue to rise, and the resulting costs to society and individuals are staggering:
More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 – that’s an average of more than 175 people per day over the course of the year (NIDA, 2017)
3 million Americans abuse prescription opioids every month (NSDUH, 2014).
Prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence cost more than $78 billion (Altarum, 2017).
The Opioid Safety Alliance, a Health IT Now initiative, is a coalition of prescribers, dispensers, manufacturers, professional societies, and patients that advocate for the use of technology to fight illegitimate opioid use, abuse, and addiction.
Members include the Association of Behavioral Health and Wellness, Brain Injury Association of America, Centerstone, Chapman University School of Pharmacy, ConsenSys, Cordant Health Solutions, CoverMyMeds, eRx Network, IBM, Intermountain Healthcare, McKesson, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, Netsmart, Oracle, RelayHealth, Walgreens, and Walmart.
We support actionable legislative and regulatory policy solutions to address the opioid crisis by arming healthcare professionals and their patients with real-time information about potential medication overuse and abuse, as well as modern strategies for treating addiction.
1. Enact a Prescription Safety Alert System. The Prescription Safety Alert System, based on National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) standards, would serve as a facilitator; ensuring that information flowing to providers, pharmacists and state databases is easily-accessible, secure, and available real- time – even when a patient attempts to fill a prescription across state lines. Clinicians will be able to use this information to get those who need help the help they need.
- See a more detailed explanation of the Prescription Safety Alert System here.
- Read NCPDP's "Recommendations for an Integrated, Interoperable Solution to Ensure Patient Safe Use of Controlled Substances" here.
2. Support funding to upgrade PDMP technology. Appropriate, secure, system-wide access to actionable information will allow prescribers and dispensers a more comprehensive view of prescribing and dispensing patterns and inform their clinical decision making.
- Advocate in support of the recommendations of the President’s Commission.
3. Expand clinician access to substance use disorder treatment information. Treatment success depends on access to a patient’s complete health and medication information, including substance abuse history. Under current law (42 CFR part 2), electronic access to this information is unnecessarily restrictive and hinders informed decision making.
- Pass H.R. 3545, the Overdose Prevention Patient Safety Act (Mullin/Blumenauer 115th).
- Pass S. 1850, the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (Manchin/Capito 115th).
4. Expand Treatment Options. Telehealth and digital virtual peer support programs should be fully leveraged to provide substance use disorder treatment options. Congress should reimburse innovative care delivery models, and the administration should knock down regulatory barriers to providing treatment virtually.
5. Test Emerging Technologies. Emerging technologies and standards have shown success in areas such as automating the cumbersome prior authorization process and securing the supply chain through innovative methods deployed in other sectors. Congress and the administration should explore options to use emerging technologies to reduce burdens, ensure appropriate prescription use, and better secure the opioid supply chain.
- Pass H.R. 4841, the Standardizing Electronic Prior Authorization for Safe Prescribing Act (Schweikert/Thompson (CA)/Johnson (OH)/Lujan 115th).
Participation and Coalition Activities
Organizations can join the Opioid Safety Alliance and support technology solutions to address the opioid crisis without joining Health IT Now.
- Coalition members can join our advocacy opportunities with Congress and the executive branch, participate in high visibility educational events and briefings, as well as the ongoing Opioid Safety Alliance media strategy.
- In addition to in-person events, members are also entitled to weekly email updates, monthly tactical meetings or conference calls, and branding inclusion for print and digital media.