The opioid epidemic is a public health emergency, a plague of healthcare leaders, and also a focus of my work at KLAS. Luckily, our provider friends have a lot of wisdom to offer on the subject.
In the Opioid Management Perception 2018 report, KLAS compiled data to answer the question, “Which vendors are providers using to fill their opioid management needs?” Over the next 12 months, we plan to publish two more opioid-related reports.
The second — slated to publish late this year — will dive into what EMR vendors are doing to address opioid stewardship.
The first, which will be published much sooner, will focus on comparing and ranking the opioid prescription intelligence vendors. These are the vendors offering tools that integrate with prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and provide additional analytics and reporting to identify patients at risk for opioid use disorder, improve prescribing practices, and improve patient care around the prescribing of opioids.
I’d like to provide a sneak peek at some of the questions that will be addressed in Opioid Prescription Intelligence 2019 report.
How Do the Products Work?
While the tools measured in the report have the same basic goals, they function in a couple of different ways.
- NarxCare (Appriss Health): On top of supporting the database for most state’s PDMPs, Appriss Health also offers the NarxCare tool to give prescribers “at-a-glance” information within the EMR workflow about a patient’s risk. NarxCare also provides additional analytics on PDMP information to help the prescriber get actionable insights.
- PastRx, AffirmHealth: These tools pull information out of the PDMP via proxy login on behalf of the prescriber. The prescriber then follows the link to these tools, which is usually integrated in the EMR, to view reports and analytics about patient risk of being prescribed too many opioids.
- RcopiaAC (DrFirst): DrFirst has long provided tools in the electronic prescribing workflow space and has begun integrating PDMP information into their own prescribing workflow. This information includes some analytics to help the prescriber assess the patient.
- EDie (Collective Medical Technologies): Acting as an ED-specific HIE, EDie shares patient specific data for all connected emergency departments. It also connects to several state PDMP databases and provides that data in context with the other information within their database to help ED physicians understand a patient’s opioid risks.
These tools are still in the adoption phase but have been well received overall as plausible solutions to help in the fight against the opioid crisis. Our upcoming report will include user commentary about how the tools’ different methodologies affect customer success and satisfaction.
What Are Providers Looking For?
Knowing how the tools work is one thing. What most providers really want to know is how well the products work. KLAS began the research for the Opioid Prescription Intelligence 2019 report with several specific questions in mind:
- How do the products interact with the EMR?
- Do the products deliver the right data?
- How is that data displayed?
- Does the data actually help physicians decide which patients should be prescribed opioids?
- Do the tools improve prescribing compliance?
Current customers shared enough experiences with KLAS to help us at least begin to answer those questions. We look forward to sharing their insights.
What Is the Vendor’s Role?
Each vendor tends to play a specific role in providers’ opioid prescription strategies. The tools are quite different in scope and functionality. Some simply deliver insights about levels of patient risk, while others aid in care management by helping providers decide on the best course of action for the patient.
Early indications for our upcoming report may surprise you: the functionality a vendor offers may matter less than how well that functionality meets customer expectations. This holds true with what KLAS has learned in other market segments about the importance of culture.
How exactly do the different opioid prescription intelligence tools fit into providers’ approaches? And which vendors are best filling the positions their customers expect them to fill? You’ll have to read the report to find out.
Faith for the Future
Of course, some questions about opioid prescription intelligence tools simply can’t be answered yet. The future will depend a lot on regulations. In order to safely and effectively prescribe opioids, physicians need all relevant data to be easily accessible within their workflow. For instance, they must be alerted when a patient has recently participated in addiction-recovery treatment. Systems must be freed from excessive legislative segmentation.
Thankfully, some walls are already coming down. I’m hopeful that as healthcare and government leaders come to better understand what leads to the safe handling of opioids, more helpful changes will be made.