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Back to the blogJan 30, 2020

How NextGen EHR is Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

How NextGen EHR is Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

The United States is in the throes of a long and brutal opioid epidemic, one that has affected millions of people and gutted entire communities. Too many people are prescribed highly addictive opioids when a safer pain reliever is sufficient. While some culprits behind the mass over-prescription of painkillers are now being held accountable, the problem is far from being resolved. To make a real difference, providers need to use their EHRs & EMRs to be part of proactive solutions. That's why NextGen, SureScripts, and other healthcare technology providers have developed tools to help fight the opioid epidemic.

Fortunately, the TempDev team can help organizations implement tools meant to prevent the over-prescribing of opioids and improve integrated care for patients who are already addicted. They can also make it easier for providers to spot those who already have a problem. By using NextGen EHR, a leader in the ambulatory healthcare technology market, physicians can more easily identify drug-seeking behaviors and take steps to help their patients overcome their drug abuse or addictions.

Opioid Epidemic Facts

Statistics on the opioid crisis are staggering. Currently, around 130 people die in the US each day from an opioid overdose. These overdoses are from prescription opioids as well as street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. The core of the crisis began in the 1990s when the medical community embraced prescription opioid painkillers and prescribed them freely. The pharmaceutical companies assured physicians that these drugs were safe and non-addictive. Shockingly, some providers were rewarded by pharma companies for prescribing their products. Many of these practices led to the current crisis.

The sad reality is that approximately one-quarter of patients who take these pills for chronic pain ultimately abuse them. Those who become addicted to them often substitute heroin as a medication once their provider stops prescribing. Buying heroin on the street is much cheaper than buying illegal oxycodone or some other opioid, so the number of heroin addicts has skyrocketed. The solution to this epidemic is complex, but provider vigilance is key. Using NextGen EHR makes it much easier for providers to identify possible opioid use problems and to help their patients get help.

NextGen EHR Tools

TempDev, a leader in NextGen consulting services, can help your practice do its part to curb opioid abuse by introducing you to what NextGen EHR has to offer. This system offers you a number of tools to fight this epidemic, including the following:

SureScripts Drug History in NextGen EHR

Patients with opioid problems often develop them by receiving legitimate prescriptions. Once hooked, they work hard to keep getting these prescriptions filled, usually by going to multiple doctors. Conscientious physicians have unwittingly contributed to a patient's addiction by giving them the painkillers they want but don't truly need. NextGen EHR has SureScripts Drug history built directly into the Medication Module. With a few clicks, providers have the information they need to make informed judgments about prescribing a patient medications.

SureScripts offers real-time medication information within NextGen EHR, so providers have the patient's full prescription history at the fingertips. Addicts sometimes benefit from poor record-keeping and manual transcription errors. SureScripts eliminates these issues so you can see if the patient has long-term or excessive opioid prescriptions in their past.

NextGen EHR PDMP Compliance for Opioid Reporting

NextGen Healthcare has partnered with Appriss Health to manage PDMP (Prescription Drug Monitoring Program) reporting. This database monitors controlled substance use and helps providers identify at-risk patients, making it a crucial tool in the prevention and management of substance use disorder.

Appriss Health makes it easy to stay compliant with state regulations by delivering pharmacy information to state agencies for you. Your practice stays in line with state regulations while you help protect patients from substance misuse, all without overburdening your already hard-working staff.

NextGen EHR Integrated Care 

Patients with substance use disorders need to have their physical medical services integrated with behavioral health care. This addiction is not easily overcome and requires mental health treatment and safer ways to address pain issues. NextGen EHR aids this integration by allowing providers to share information through NextGen Share, Carequality, and behavioral health EHR templates to discuss all aspects of the patient's health as an integrated care team, making a lasting recovery more likely.

Surescripts Direct Messaging with NextGen Share

While physicians undoubtedly use email, they probably do not use it professionally for sharing patient information because of privacy concerns. In a medical practice, the fast exchange of consult and referral information is essential, especially when providers have to meet with dozens of patients each day. Direct messaging allows providers to quickly send and receive the patient information needed to treat patients, particularly those with substance use disorders, successfully.

NextGen EHR & NextGen Share allows for secure Direct Messaging that protects patients' rights to privacy but improves communication with all providers providing treatments to a patient. If a provider has a concern about a patient's history with opioids or other troubling indications, they can reach out to other consulting physicians and behavioral treatment teams. This ability means more patients with substance use disorders will have integrated care teams who are actively participating in improving the quality of care.

Carequality Benefits

NextGen is part of the Carequality Framework, a network that allows providers fast access to information from hospitals, other provider treatments, and medications that a patient has received. In fact, it is a "network of networks" that has more than 10,000 participants, letting providers request information from and exchange information with over 600,000 providers nationwide. This level of access to patient records makes it much easier to spot patients with a potential opioid issue and track their history. Also, you can see what other treatments they may previously undergone. Providers always give better care when they are fully informed, and Carequality is a prime source of critical information.

TempDev MME NextGen EHR Templates

TempDev has created a NextGen EHR template to assist providers is prescribing a safe amounts of opioids when they are indicated for a patient's treatment. The company has created custom MME (morphine milligram equivalent) NextGen EHR alert solution for patients who are on an opioid or a benzodiazepine. These alerts let providers monitor patient drug usage and meet California compliance laws. These laws were enacted to limit the amount of these drugs a patient can be prescribed in total, from multiple providers in some instances, which creates a confusing conversion process. TempDev's MME NextGen EHR template simplifies these calculations, which benefits providers and patients. Providers need creative tools such as these to improve patient care and meet strict regulatory standards. Contact us to start a discussion about your state's regulatory standards and how we can partner on a solution together.

The TempDev Advantage

NextGen EHR solutions are meant to benefit both patients and physicians. Curtailing the opioid crisis is one of the most important medical issues currently in the United States. The TempDev NextGen EHR consulting team is fully invested in doing their part to help. Their partnership with NextGen means they can offer you the most advanced tools for helping those with substance usage disorder.

NextGen EHR lets you easily get the medical records that you need for each patient. You can see their full treatment history, monitor their medication usage, and coordinate with behavioral health experts quickly and efficiently. In addition, you can more easily stay compliant with state reporting requirements. You'll have easy access to nationwide databases and other information that improves your treatment plans for these patients. You will be less likely to miss signs of abuse or addiction when you employ all the tools that NextGen & TempDev can supply.

The opioid crisis has been devastating individuals and communities for the last few decades. The United States has such a severe problem because there was not the technology available that there is now when these medications first started making their way onto the market. The way back from this crisis requires a concentrated effort on the part of patients, providers, and the government and advanced technological solutions. TempDev, with the help of NextGen, is doing its part to reduce opioid dependence throughout the nation. Contact us for NextGen support with implementing the solutions your practice needs to help fight this epidemic.


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