The dramatic rise in opioid use in the United States has forced emergency rooms to the front lines in our nation’s fight against drug addiction. ED doctors and nurses are in a daily struggle in the choice between appropriately alleviating a patient’s pain and possibly feeding an established or growing dependency.
The pressure on EDs is staggering. For staff, helping drug-seeking patients is a very difficult, and time-consuming portion of their daily responsibilities. A report earlier this decade estimated that approximately 20% of all emergency room traffic is from drug-seeking behavior. Additionally, a study of the drug-seeking patients found that they visited ERs on average 14.5 times per year—far more than the control group average of 2.1 visits per year.
While there is no single solution to the opioid crisis, one option is improving the connectivity and communications between caregivers. This is especially true as drug-seeking patients engage in what’s known as “hospital shopping,” or bouncing between EDs to find doctors who will prescribe them more opioids.
Knowing in real-time if a patient is a high-utilizer and alerting a patient’s provider when they register at an ED are critical to fighting back against the opioid crisis.
This information offers an opportunity to appropriately intervene and engage with the ED team in real time to collaborate on the most appropriate care. If the patient is specifically seeking opioids, the PCP and ED team will not only have a fuller picture of their addiction history but also a stronger web of support for accessing community resources.
PatientPing is a Boston-based health technology company that is building a national community of engaged providers who are sharing information, coordinating care, and working together to get patients healthier faster. By joining the PatientPing community, providers get notified in real-time when their patients receive care elsewhere and are able to share care instructions with other providers. PatientPing’s national care coordination community includes physicians, nurses, case managers, and care coordinators across hospitals, emergency departments, accountable care organizations (ACOs), physician practices, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, inpatient rehabilitation centers, payers and other providers. By connecting care teams through real-time information sharing, PatientPing enables providers to deliver higher quality and more cost-effective care, improving patient outcomes and experience.
Written by Nolan Kelly