On Oct. 24, President Donald Trump signed The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This bipartisan bill aims to resolve the opioid crisis by increasing access to addiction treatment and promoting recovery. Learn more about this opioid epidemic bill and the importance of tracking addiction outcome measures in your practice.
About the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities ActThe SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act opioid legislation opens up new ways to fight opioid addiction for patients and researchers, including:
This bill also acknowledges that addiction is a disease. Confirming it as a medical condition helps reduce the stigma around addiction and reject the idea that it comes from a moral failing.
The Importance of Tracking Outcome Measures for Treatment EffectivenessBehavioral health professionals have a part to play in the fight against opioid addiction. Many of the underlying causes of opioid abuse involve mental health conditions, a history of substance abuse or trauma. Patients count on the behavioral health field to address these issues. With behavioral health at the forefront of addiction causes, professionals can track outcome measures to find aberrant behavior. AccuCare simplifies the process with the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT).
AccuCare’s Opioid Risk Tool (ORT)The ORT feature in our AccuCare online system allows you to detect a patient’s risk of opioid abuse with a simple questionnaire. After you enter the answers to questions about trauma, substance abuse history and mental health, ORT generates a score. This number indicates the patient’s risk of developing an opioid abuse disorder.
We based the ORT feature on a research-supported screening tool with more than 90 percent accuracy. Patients who receive a high score have a greater chance of performing aberrant behaviors that suggest opioid use. ORT acts as the start of a conversation that could save a patient’s life.
Contact Us Today
At Orion Healthcare Technology, we empower behavioral health professionals to improve patients’ well-being. To learn more about AccuCare and ORT, call us at 844-359-0540 or request a free demo.
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.
Fentanyl and the Opioid Epidemic
Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids lie at the forefront of today’s crisis. Their potency and high price on the streets make them a lethal danger in the opioid epidemic. Behavioral health professionals must understand the harm caused by fentanyl and other opioids to fight back against abuse and addiction.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with a potency 100 times higher than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It comes in the form of branded prescription drugs such as Actiq and Duragesic. The drug also has street forms with names like Jackpot and TNT. Some of these street drugs consist of heroin laced with fentanyl for a stronger effect.
Doctors generally only prescribe fentanyl for patients with severe conditions. Certain analogs to fentanyl, such as carfentanyl, have such a high potency that they require protective gear to use safely.
How Does Fentanyl Fit Into the Opioid Crisis?According to the CDC, the opioid crisis has three waves that occurred over the course of two and a half decades. The third wave started in 2013 and signaled an increase in overdoses related to synthetic opioids. Deaths related to synthetic opioid overdose often involve illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).
Many people who take IMF don’t realize they’re taking it. Illegal opioid sellers cut heroin and other drugs with fentanyl to enhance the high their products create. Fentanyl’s strength results in severe dependency that causes users to seek out increasingly stronger opioids.
Fentanyl Usage StatisticsConsider the following statistics:
The Importance of Combating Fentanyl Abuse and AddictionSynthetic opioids such as fentanyl caused over 19,000 deaths in 2016. These numbers increase every year. However, behavioral health professionals can help our country reduce these statistics and save lives. They can detect fentanyl addiction and abuse during care, sometimes before abuse even happens. Their role in the healthcare system gives them prime opportunities to refer patients to opioid use specialists. You can fight back against fentanyl abuse by:
Using AccuCare and the Opioid Risk Tool to Predict Aberrant Behaviors
At Orion Healthcare Technology, we want to help behavioral health providers serve their patients. That’s why we added the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) to our AccuCare EHR application. Developed using in-depth research, the ORT employs simple questions to determine a patient’s risk of opioid abuse. It creates a score that quantifies your patients’ risk of showing aberrant behaviors, or activities that indicate possible abuse. With over 90 percent accuracy, the ORT helps you understand which patients to monitor for opioid abuse.
To learn more about AccuCare, contact our customer support team or request a free demo.
Opioid Risk Tool in AccuCare
We are pleased to announce the new Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) feature in our AccuCare online system. Opioid abuse impacts the well-being of everyone, and we want to contribute solutions to this nationwide epidemic. Let us explain the importance of preventing opioid addiction and how the ORT can help.
The Importance of Opioid Addiction PreventionOpioid addiction is a critical public health emergency. A surge of prescriptions for opioid painkillers in the 1990s escalated into widespread dependence. Today, over 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.
Addiction puts significant stress on the mental and physical health of patients and their loved ones. The United States must dedicate valuable resources to combat the epidemic. Reports estimate that we pay more than $500 billion annually on the opioid crisis. While patient lives are more valuable than any amount of money, this situation also places an economic burden on our country.
Behavioral health specialists have a vital role to play in opioid addiction prevention. Many opioid abuse risk factors involve trauma, mental health issues and previous substance abuse. Behavioral health practices often serve patients who have these vulnerabilities. This field has prime opportunities to identify aberrant behaviors before dependence becomes severe. Using tools such as the ORT helps professionals identify the potential for abuse.
Detecting Prescription Opioid Abuse With the ORTAccuCare’s ORT feature uses a screening tool developed in a 2005 study by Lynn R. Webster, MD, and Rebecca M. Webster. They evaluated 185 pain patients with a self-administered form of the ORT. This questionnaire had over a 90 percent accuracy detecting low-risk and high-risk patients. Patients with high scores were very likely to express aberrant behaviors that indicate opioid abuse within the following 12 months.
The ORT automates opioid abuse risk assessments using simple-to-understand technology. It records the following risk factors:
Enter the answers to nine yes-or-no questions to calculate a patient’s risk of addiction and abuse. Each answer provides a score dependent on the patient’s gender. The same page presents a key showing the level of risk indicated:
You do not need to do any of the math yourself — the ORT tracks your patient’s score automatically. After you finish the assessment, you can visit the Screening Tools/Supplements page to generate a report of the results.
About Orion Healthcare Technology and AccuCareAt Orion Healthcare Technology, we want to give behavioral health practices the tools they need to improve their patients’ lives. Our AccuCare online application allows you to manage your patient records and practice management securely. It helps you every step of the way, whether you need to complete a patient intake or process billing.
It requires careful consideration to choose the right electronic health record system. We provide a free AccuCare demo to help you determine if our software meets your needs. Call us at 844-359-0540, or submit a demo request to get in touch with an Orion representative.