Why are EHRs the Best Platform for Monitoring & Tracking Opioid Usage?

Why are EHRs the Best Platform for Monitoring & Tracking Opioid Usage?
When it comes to healthcare services, it is crucial to maintain the patient’s privacy and other confidential data associated with healthcare professionals. A new HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association white paper compiled by the EHRA Opioid Crisis Task Force and Dan Seltzer says that EHRs (Electronic Health Records) play a crucial role in safer opioid tapering by providers for the patients who trusted on the medication to address chronic pain. 

For people suffering from chronic pain, opioid use is recommended as it can provide relief. According to governmental and professional guidelines, it is recommended for patients to consider gradual opioid-dose reduction if they take over 90 morphine milligram equivalents every day. It should be done when it is no longer effective, its side effects become irrepressible, or providers are concerned about substance-use disorder or overdose.

The paper author says, 

“EHRs is the natural platform for physicians to initiate, track and maintain opioid tapering plans.”

Why is it Important?

Rapid opioid withdrawal can show severe symptoms in patients. Therefore, providers should reduce the dosage in people who need tapering 4-15% every four weeks. Tapering is still a challenge for providers. 

Also, every patient has different body functioning and different needs. A highly customizable plan for every patient is needed. The authors note said, 

"The EHR should provide flexible tools that enable providers to individualize treatment plans and adapt treatment over time based upon the patient response.”

The foremost step is to make sure that facilities are using opioid stewardships that makes use of EHRs. The providers today can use several electronic tools such as automating tapering schedules, physician notes, screening Withdrawl symptoms, and clinical decision support systems and other tools to effectively taper a patient’s opioid use. 

The EHRA paper further proposes different EHR advancements that could enhance treatment, such as models to highlight tapering candidates, MME graphics, warning systems, and more. The paper authors assert- 

“These solutions should be flexible enough to accommodate provider judgment while also straightforward and inclusive of clinical guidelines." 

The providers who help patients suffering from chronic pain also face challenges according to guidelines and state laws around opioid prescriptions. Several technologies like EHRs can play a vital role and act as a tool for implementing opioid treatment. 

Earlier, the EHA has observed that the providers can implement functional goals into care plans. The healthcare professionals use EHR analytics to improve opioid treatment agreements for chronic people and also compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Other healthcare services like hospitals depend on telehealth and electronic monitoring of patient-controlled analgesia to minimize the use of opioids and its addiction. 

The authors continued- 

“With the opioid crisis still unresolved and the COVID-19 pandemic making patients more vulnerable to opioid misuse, the need is urgent for the digitization of the opioid tapering plan, and organizations can act now to create, develop, and implement this solution." 

They added, 

“In the future, there are many exciting new frontiers in EHR development that can advance this process and can help providers to balance safer, evidence-based, and equitable use of opioids with patient-centric care plans.”

The Future of EHRs

Today, EHRs can do a lot many things, but what does its future hold? Currently, several vendors do not offer a one-stop solution to track and adjust opioid tapering plans. However, this would be useful for healthcare professionals to manage all the tasks related to tapering. 

The EHR development would include a detailed MME graphic and tracking. This would show the historical opioid usage established by the tapering plan to track a patient’s progress. 

EHRs Would Able to Train Providers

When tampering plans are active, EHRs would be able to train providers who place orders with the parameters of the established taper. EHRS should warn the providers who would increase the dosage of once a taper is initiated. 

Furthermore, advanced metrics could track function, pain, and other side effects related to opioid use and tapering progress. 

Final Words

EHRs are a great platform to track and to maintain opioid tapering plans. With the opioid crisis still unsolved, the coronavirus pandemic is making patients unsafe for opioid use. The digitization of the opioid tapering plan is essential, and organizations can now implement this solution. 

Also, digitization is shaping the future of the healthcare industry in several ways. It is making people aware of the high-tech services offered by the healthcare industry. Plus, the combination of healthcare services and digitization is enhancing the lives of millions of people by offering incredible services to them. 

At Covetus, we have a team of experts who solely work on healthcare IT services. We build customer-centric solutions that empower healthcare providers. We are specialized in data integration and analytics services. With our experience, we can help you to be at the top of every healthcare service. Furthermore, we offer expertise in a different range of medical standards, such as DICOM, HL7, and other healthcare services. 
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