How Can EHRs Help Curb the Opioid Crisis?

The opioid crisis holds a long and complicated history in the United States. Deceitful marketing practices and the over-prescribing of certain medications both played a hand in its origin. People on all sides of the epidemic have since ended up suffering greatly. Now, healthcare providers must learn how to combat the growing opioid crisis together. 

For many experts, EHR integration offers a promising new way to fight it. Many healthcare providers already use EHRs to determine the prior opioid tolerance of a patient. Learn how EHRs can help healthcare providers fight the opioid crisis in our latest blog post now. 

The Role of EHRs and Patient Health

The importance of EHR integration for patient outcomes

doctor shaking persons hand

Electronic health records (EHRs) offer information on a patient’s medical history, past treatments and medications, allergies, test results, and immunization dates. Nowadays, many patients can access this data online. Other healthcare providers, such as their dermatologist or psychiatrist, may also be able to access this information. This makes it easier for physicians to make informed decisions about their patients’ health while also empowering these patients to take active roles in their treatments and medical recommendations. 

EHRs can also streamline workplace productivity by automating certain tasks. This gives staff members more time to focus on the patients in the office. No longer do they have to track down information over the phone or wait for it to be faxed to them. 

Because of the many benefits that EHRs can bring patients and healthcare providers, an increasing number of organizations are looking to leverage the data contained in them to help fight the opioid epidemic. 

Prescribing Rates for Patients

Tracking the prescribing rates for opioids

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Tracking opioid prescriptions can be difficult for physicians. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic discovered that over half of the United States citizens currently being prescribed highly-potent opioids might not have actually been eligible candidates for them. 

This could be a result of insufficient EHR data and insurance claims information. For instance, if a patient pays for opioids using cash rather than through their insurance, this transaction might not show up in their claims history. As a result, the physician has an inaccurate assessment of a patient’s past use of opioids. 

Roadblocks to Keeping Track of Prescription Rates

Because claims data does not always show the full story of a patient, many healthcare providers believe that analyzing EHR and claims data together can be helpful. In theory, by analyzing both sets of data, physicians can reduce the number of patients starting opioid-tolerant-only (OTO) regimens who were actually classified as non tolerant. 

Unfortunately, EHR data can also lack helpful information about a patient’s possible opioid tolerance and or reasons behind their past use. Until EHR and claims data are accurately recorded, physicians and healthcare professionals will have a tough time dealing with the epidemic. 

Benefits of Improving EHR Integration

How improved EHR integration can help fight the crisis

doctors and patient in hospital hallway

Streamlining EHR integration services can greatly benefit both physicians and their patients. With this automated service, healthcare providers can achieve greater clarity into their patients’ past opioid use. 

Right now, the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) is developing new policies and procedures that will assist physicians in looking into a patient’s history of opioid use. As part of its research, the EHRA is gathering information on the time it takes for physicians to report controlled-substance any prescriptions they make, the ability for staff members to share data among numerous providers, and who has access to this information. Using the data they collected, the EHRA built an ideal minimum data set detailing all the information that EHRs need to collect to help meet the needs of physicians. 

This minimum data set is the first step on the long road toward achieving prime healthcare interoperability. In the future, physicians can use EHR platforms to help them make informed decisions on prescriptions for their patients based on their history with them. 

EHR Integration Through Iron Bridge’s Hi-PaaS

Top EHR integration product on the market today

hospital corridor

In order to improve your clinical efficiency, you need a modern technology platform to help you out. The Nuvola Hub Healthcare Integration Platform as a Service (Hi-Paas) is designed to collect and transform your organization’s data to help improve patient outcomes. 

By leveraging Iron Bridge’s powerful Hi-PaaS, you can cut down on time spent chasing data across different parts of the healthcare system. Hi-PaaS can collect everything from medication information to lab results in a cohesive and user-friendly format. Should you need any assistance, the team at Iron Bridge is ready to help you out. 

While the current EHR integration system still needs to be improved to help healthcare providers combat the opioid crisis, it can become an effective tool in the future. Iron Bridge offers state-of-the-art health IT solutions to help your company offer streamlined EHR access to both patients and partners. To learn more about Iron Bridge’s healthcare IT solutions, contact the team today.

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