Every day, 115 Americans die from an opioid-related drug overdose. To encourage awareness about the public health epidemic, HIMSS is hosting a series of webinars on leveraging health information and technology to mitigate the opioid crisis at the federal and state levels. These webinars provide the opportunity for participants from diverse sectors to discuss federal and state model practices and resources to leverage. Presenters include representatives from HIMSS, state Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), federal agencies and state health departments.
Presenters will share model practices at the federal and state levels on state HIE collaborations as well as how to advance Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), all in efforts to address the opioid crisis. Presenters include Sonia Chambers, executive director, West Virginia Health Information Network; Lindsey Ferris, program director of HIE Projects, CRISP; Leigh Burchell, vice president of Government Affairs, Allscripts and chair, EHRA Opioids Crisis Taskforce; and John Klimek, senior vice president, Standards and IT, National Council for Prescription Drug Programs.
In part two of the series, the webinar featured speakers representing the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ARHQ), under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Washington State Department of Health, who discussed their efforts and resources at the federal and state level to mitigate the crisis.
Two of ARHQ’s programs, the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and HCUPnet, include publically accessible data visualizations and briefs which include data on opioid use, which are valuable resources for use in policy advocacy. A representative from Washington State Department of Health presented on the state’s initiative to improve accessibility of the state’s PDMP in order to mitigate the opioid crisis. Less than one-third of prescribers registered to use the voluntary state PDMP use it because of low accessibility. In response to this, Washington State implemented information sharing between the state HIE and the PDMP. This led to increased usage of the PDMP and higher accessibility. The presenter recommended other states consider this model practice to improve usage of their PDMP with the end goal of curbing opioid abuse.