As opioid overdoses continue to claim more lives, the New Jersey Hospital Association and its Health Research and Educational Trust announced a $1.5 million investment in an emergency department tracking tool for hospitals statewide to better monitor opioid prescriptions.
The tool, developed by Collective Medical, supplies automatic clinical alerts in the ED to notify the medical team of an individual’s prescription history, drawing from the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program. The alerts are activated as soon as an individual is entered into the hospital’s system, eliminating the need for an employee to pause, log in and search the state’s database. The tool helps identify individuals who frequent different medical facilities to receive opioid prescriptions.
“We’ve seen far too many drug victims come into our EDs when it’s already too late to save them,” NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett said in a statement. “NJHA has embraced a new mission and vision of improving the health and well-being of the people in our state, and today we’re backing that commitment with a significant investment. While opioid abuse is one of our most urgent needs, this resource has the potential to be a powerful population health tool through better coordination across care settings.”
In New Jersey, 2,284 people died of an overdose from July 2016 to June 2017, a nearly 35 percent increase over the previous 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NJHA and HRET are partnering on the roll out of the Collective network and platform, which is currently underway with hospitals across New Jersey. Collective has been implemented in states across the country including Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Massachusetts and others. The tool helps identify and support high-risk patients by pulling real-time information across care settings. In addition to identifying frequent users of opioids, the collected data can help reduce avoidable hospital readmissions and better manage complex patients who frequently seek care in the ED.
In Washington state, site of Collective’s first statewide initiative, opioid prescriptions in the ED declined by 24 percent after joining the Collective network, according to a review by the Brookings Institution. Columbia Medical Associates, a multi-specialty group practice in Spokane, Wash., participating as an Accountable Care Organization in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, was able to achieve an approximate $6.5 million decrease in total cost of care from 2016 to 2017 after joining the Collective network.
“Emergency physicians witness firsthand the impacts of addiction, treat the injuries resulting from misuse or overdose and administer life-saving doses of naloxone. But, without a health record, we very rarely know who the patient is or their history – valuable information when it comes to accurately diagnosing and treating patients,” Marjory Langer, M.D., president, New Jersey Chapter – American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a statement. “The innovative Collective technology will remove the communication barriers between EDs and other emergency care settings and help emergency physicians to better identify, manage and treat patients struggling with opioid addiction.”
NJHA’s Health Research and Educational Trust is offering funding for the installation and first year use of the Collective platform in acute care hospitals statewide. In subsequent years, hospitals would pick up the per-record costs associated with the tool.