Many people consider physical and mental health problems completely separate from one another. However, medical and behavioral health professionals understand that the two affect each other. Addiction to opioids and chronic pain have physical and emotional symptoms that we shouldn’t ignore. By addressing both problems from all angles, we can curb the opioid crisis impacting the United States.
About The Opioid Epidemic
According to NIDA, about 2.1 million Americans had a prescription opioid-related substance use disorder in 2016. That same year, 626,000 had a heroin use disorder, and 15,000 died from heroin overdose. Overall, an average of 115 people die from opioid overdose every day. These statistics show only a small part of the impact that opioid abuse has on public health. It causes an immeasurable amount of physical and emotional harm to patients and their loved ones.
New Opioid Regulations and Their Effect on Chronic Pain Patients
As a result of the increasing opioid problem in the United States, the CDC issued new opioid prescribing guidelines in 2016. They suggested a lower reliance on opioids as the first line of care for pain. Many patients undergoing opioid treatment feel dismayed by these changes. The updates make it seem like the healthcare system treats them as part of the problem.
We believe that the CDC has good reason to change how we prescribe opioids. However, these patients have understandable concerns about an increase in the burden of chronic pain.
How You Can Help Patients Taking Opioids for Chronic Pain
Behavioral health professionals from all disciplines can help pain patients manage their symptoms. Healthcare frequently leaves pain treatment up to specialists and general providers, but you also have a part to play. Pain causes a wide range of psychological symptoms often left unaddressed. When we don’t target the emotional aspects of pain, substance abuse becomes more likely due to mental illness’ role as a risk factor. The patient also has a difficult time trying alternative and supplemental therapies because of mental health symptoms like fatigue and lack of motivation.
Additionally, tackling the emotional symptoms of pain could reduce a patient’s need to rely on opioids. That’s not to say that pain patients can “get over” their conditions. However, the APA states that research indicates that some forms of psychotherapy could work as well as surgery to relieve pain.
If you don’t already address chronic pain symptoms, consider what you can do for your chronic pain patients. Even starting a simple conversation could make a big difference.
About AccuCare and the Opioid Risk Tool
AccuCare and its new Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) feature make it easier than ever to monitor addiction risks in your patients. The ORT uses a research-supported questionnaire to calculate a patient’s potential for abuse. Answer a few simple yes or no questions, and the ORT automatically calculates a score that helps you understand your patient’s risk. That way, you can monitor patients with high scores and stop addiction before it happens.
Contact us to learn more about AccuCare features, or request a demo today to see them for yourself.
Computer Security in Healthcare
Computer security for clinicians works similarly to typical computer security, but health providers need to take extra care to keep their practice’s and patients’ information safe. When you handle your practice’s data, you must ensure that they stay private. Read more to learn about some basic precautions you can take to have optimal electronic health record (EHR) security.
The Importance of Healthcare Cybersecurity
When you manage your home computer’s security, you only have to worry about your own personal information. But when you work with EHR systems, you’re handling the personal information of every single patient you serve. As a health provider, your top goal is to keep your patients safe and healthy. But that principle doesn’t just apply to mental health and addiction — it counts for information safety, too. Your patient has permitted you to use their information, so you want to treat it just like you would your patient.
Managing your computer system’s security is also a crucial aspect of HIPAA compliance. HIPAA involves the care of electronic information in addition to information on paper. Violating HIPAA laws not only puts your patients in danger, but it also subjects you to legal penalties.
How to Make Your Computer and EHR System Secure
While the consequences of lax information security in your practice can be severe, healthcare cybersecurity is fairly simple and affordable. In fact, you may not have to pay any money at all thanks to free software. As part of your cybersecurity habits, you should:
Orion’s AccuCare System
Using a secure EHR system is another way to make sure your patients’ records stay private. Our AccuCare web application operates on our secure servers so you don’t have to worry about managing your practice’s IT infrastructure. We keep hackers away by using the latest in firewall protection, tracking and encryption to manage the application. AccuCare users can access their files from any computer that connects to the internet, letting them safely work with data on-the-go. To learn more about our AccuCare EHR system, contact us and request a free demo.