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A Framework for Innovation
As noted in part one of our series, we believe the opioid crisis is an “All Hands-On Deck” moment and health IT (HIT) has a lot to offer. Given the many different possibilities, having a method for organizing and prioritizing potential IT innovations is an important starting point. We have proposed a framework that groups opportunities based on an abstract view of five types of functionality. In this article we will explore the role of technologies that provide clinical decision support.
Clinical Decision Support for Opioid Management
We are at the dawn of big data in health care as clinical data sets develop the volume, velocity and variety required for advanced analytics. Pattern recognition, simulation and predictive analytics hold great promise for medicine in general and should be leveraged to address the crisis. For example, it is increasingly common to see algorithms that predict future risk, outcomes and the potential impact of different therapeutic interventions. It should be possible to apply this to individual patients to predict the best course of treatment for pain, minimize the risk of developing addiction or abusing medications, and recommend the best interventions when patients get into trouble.
The Future is Now: Risk Prediction and Decision Support
Advanced analytics embedded in applications like Venebio Opioid AdvisorTM (VOATM) make them powerful new tools in the fight against opioid abuse. VOA is a validated risk index and clinical decision support tool that can predict future risk of prescription opioid overdose and provide evidence-based guidance to support safer prescribing and risk reduction. A proprietary algorithm produces a personalized risk score that predicts the likelihood the patient will overdose on prescription opioids. The patient’s risk score and predicted probability of overdose is based on multiple patient-specific demographic and clinical variables which are compared with data from tens of millions of opioid-treated individuals.
Coming soon to an Electronic Health Record (EHR) Near You?
As noted in previous articles, for CDS technologies to be effective, they must be easy to use. Awkward and time-consuming workflows can be an enormous barrier to adoption and regular use. In most cases this means tight integration with the EHRs that clinicians commonly use when caring for patients. This is not a trivial undertaking. It requires careful planning and design that leads to effective integration into the clinical, EHR-based, workflow. It must be easy to access CDS tools; data should flow seamlessly back and forth, with little or no intervention by the end-user, and duplicate data entry must be studiously avoided. Reports, graphs and the like should be visually appealing and intuitive. In summary, decision support has to be woven into the system and presented in ways that support end-user adoption by enhancing clinician access to information and advice and making it easy to incorporate this into their plan of care and documentation.
The next article in this series will look at the role technology can play in managing allocation of scarce resources and expanding access to services like medication assisted therapy (MAT).
Colin Konschak, FACHE is the Chief Executive Officer at Divurgent. He is a highly accomplished executive with over 20 years of experience with extensive experience in health care operations, P&L management, account management, strategic planning and alliance management. You can follow him on LinkedIn or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.