Predictive analytics based on government data may help in curtailing opioid epidemic

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Predictive analytics based on government data may help in curtailing opioid epidemic

Predictive analytics based on government data may help in curtailing opioid epidemic

Although Americans represent only 5 percent of the world’s population, they consume 80 percent of the world’s supply of opioids. In 2015, over 22,000 deaths occurred due to prescription opioids, an increase from around 19,000 deaths in 2014. One of the major reasons behind such a massive increase in deaths is the involvement of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. This translates into an average of 62 deaths per day. Since 2000, the rate of drug overdose deaths has increased by 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in deaths due to opioids.

Although the rate of opioid prescription has substantially reduced due to the federal measures, the rate of prescribing opioids in 2015 stands at approximately three times higher than that of 1999. Moreover, it varies across the country.

As of now, the federal government has access to an entire range of data of the country’s health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Multi-Health Systems (MHS), Veterans Health Administration, the Health Insurance Marketplace, etc. This empowers the government to use the data at their disposal to develop solutions to combat opioid abuse and predict outcomes through predictive analytics.

The above-mentioned measure will prove beneficial in clamping down on the increased prescription of painkillers. However, drastic measures would negatively affect the treatment of legitimate cases of pain management. A suitable place to start predictive analytics—to discover the patterns that can predict the outcomes— would be the patient and medical provider settings. The actions at the above levels grade the intentions from medical necessity to dubious behavior or outright fraud.

Tools that predicts and prevents opioid addiction

Access to prescription data can help to understand not only the patterns, but also the usage rates by region. By generating actionable insights, data can help to understand the thresholds and the extent of the problem in a state, county, etc. The detected patterns can be extrapolated to predict outcomes conclusively and thus empower agencies to take proactive steps toward preventive care. Rather than providing the standard treatment to the patients who have fallen prey to opioid addiction, analytic solutions assist in treating them according to their specific needs.

Key indicators to assess a patient’s vulnerability to opioid abuse are:

  • Trips to multiple prescribers or pharmacies
  • Early refill of prescriptions
  • Refill of higher than the normal volumes of painkillers
  • Longer than the normal usage
  • Traveling to long distance pharmacies
  • Switching between diverse types of controlled drugs etc.

The data from the ‘prescription drug monitoring program’ (PDMP) can also deter clinicians from prescribing opioids to a susceptible patient. Therefore, it is mandatory in some states to submit information to PDMP. It can help to identify the patterns of a patient who could be obtaining opioids by indulging in malpractices, such consulting multiple doctors and visiting emergency rooms (ERs). When such patterns are recognized for a certain geographic area, it empowers the government agencies to plan and implement the public health programs that focus on prevention and treatment.

Algorithms created based on electronic health records (EHR) and PDMP data can incorporate a patient’s social determinants of health in his or her profiles so that clinicians are better equipped to identify at-risk patients with the potential for abusing opioids.

Road to recovery

Though the problem of opioid abuse is colossal and complex, one can effectively overcome it through intervention with innovative tools like predictive analytics.  The data collected through the various government-based agencies assist medical practitioners and experts in comprehending the common behavioral patterns that indicate opioid abuse.

If you or your loved one is addicted to any form of substances of abuse, contact the treatment advisors of the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to get access to some of the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-576-4147 or chat online to know more about the best drug rehabilitation center clinic in Arizona.

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