Improve patient management to bridge gaps in care
Consistent engagement with patients may help prevent new opioid addictions by identifying social factors that influence patient behavior. Care management programs, such as cancer care management, may be used to help manage at-risk opioid patients. “We are ramping up patient counseling in [CVS] retail pharmacies,” Brennan said.
Use technology and data sharing to improve healthcare business collaborations
Combining public and private health data may reveal new insights and areas of focus. In Massachusetts, data sharing across many government agencies has made it easier to find at-risk opioid patients. Partners Healthcare has also contributed clinical health data to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health-led effort, said Tom Land, director of the department’s Office of Special Analytic Projects. Third-party organizations also may participate in compiling and analyzing health data to inform multi-organization strategies for reducing opioid misuse, dependence and overdose.
Make safer treatments for chronic pain available
Some of the most dangerous opioids are the least expensive. Insurers, PBMs and pharmacies should consider the total cost of opioid addiction and overdose. Aetna is partnering with Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons to find oral surgeons with high opioid prescription rates and offer to enroll them in a program that provides free samples of Pacira’s Exparel, a non-opioid local analgesic. It then teaches the doctors how to use it with patients undergoing wisdom tooth extraction .