Indiana Medical Leaders Launch Tech-Based Opioid Prescribing Education for Clinicians | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Indiana Medical Leaders Launch Tech-Based Opioid Prescribing Education for Clinicians

April 4, 2018
by Heather Landi
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Educating doctors about best practices for prescribing pain medication has been proven to curb prescription drug misuse, yet time and cost constraints keep many physicians from accessing such training. To ensure clinicians receive this education and to help curb Indiana’s opioid epidemic, state medical leaders are leveraging mobile technology, such as a mobile app and podcasts, to launch a medical education program focused on best practices for prescribing opioids and treating patients who suffer from pain. 

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has awarded $230,000 to fund the program, which the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) will launch later this year.

To provide the most up-to-date information in a convenient format for time-strapped clinicians, ISMA will develop mobile technology to deliver the education through on-demand podcasts, a mobile app and live webinars. The training is free for health providers through the end of this year, and webinars will remain available online after each live presentation, according to the press release.

ISMA’s mobile app will break down barriers to access and will ensure doctors receive the most current information. It is among the first technology-based education programs focused exclusively on opioid prescribing for physicians and other providers in Indiana, the association said.

ISMA will offer the opioid-prescribing courses to Indiana’s thousands of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses, using content developed with partners such as the Indiana Hospital Association, specialty societies and health systems, according to a press release. The material will be based on best practices and customized for different medical specialties.

“If we’re going to address Indiana’s rising opioid epidemic, we have to focus not only on treatment, but also on prevention,” Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, said in a statement. “By empowering clinicians with the knowledge they need to prescribe judiciously and connect patients with non-opioid pain management tools, we can help curb high prescription drug rates and stem the tide of opioid misuse that continues to devastate Hoosier families and communities.”

The initiative comes just as state lawmakers are increasing requirements for doctors to receive opioid-focused training. This year, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Bill 225 requiring all doctors to receive at least two hours of training on opioid prescription practices every two years. 

A survey of ISMA member physicians showed 100 percent of respondents believe opioid education is “highly important.” Other research shows physicians find it difficult to access such training in a timely manner and to keep up with the latest information, partly because they must prioritize ongoing training to remain certified in their medical specialties. They also may not have time to attend classes in person.

“Broad education is essential to making a difference in stemming the opioid epidemic,” John P. McGoff, M.D., president of the Indiana State Medical Association and an emergency room doctor, said in a statement. “Physicians play a crucial role by keeping up with best practices, guidelines and regulations. With the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation grant, ISMA can lead the way in provider education, in real time.”

According to ISMA, the number of opioids prescribed, as well as dosages and the duration of prescriptions, started escalating nationally in the late 1990s, when it became common practice to aggressively treat chronic pain. Increasing the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions has elevated the risk of overdoses and addiction. The average supply of opioids prescribed in the U.S. rose by nearly 36 percent from 2006 to 2016, and more than 183,000 Americans have died of prescription drug overdoses since 1999.

Educating doctors in prescription practices so they can recommend other approaches to pain management has been proven to reduce opioid misuse, and the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse recommends physician education as a way to cut down on prescription drug addiction.



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LabCorp Joins Apple Health Records Project

November 5, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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LabCorp, a provider of clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services, has announced that it has enabled Apple’s Health Records feature for its patients.

This iPhone feature aims to make it easier for LabCorp patients to access their LabCorp laboratory test results, along with other available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose, according to officials.

In January, Apple announced that it would be testing the Health Records feature out with 12 hospitals, inclusive of some of the most prominent healthcare institutions in the U.S. Since that time, more than 100 new organizations have joined the project,  according to Apple.

LabCorp test results are viewable in the Apple Health app for LabCorp patients who have an account with the company, and enable integration with the Health Records app. In addition to their LabCorp test results, patients will have information from participating healthcare institutions organized into one view, covering allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.

Patients will receive notifications when their data is updated, and the Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, according to officials.

“LabCorp on Health Records will help provide healthcare consumers with a more holistic view of their health. Laboratory test results are central to medical decision making, and broadening access to this information will help patients take charge of their health and wellness, and lead to more informed dialogues between patients and their healthcare providers,” David P. King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp, said in a statement.

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HIMSS Analytics Introduces Infrastructure Adoption Model for Health Systems

October 25, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, announced the introduction of the Infrastructure Adoption Model, or INFRAM, which is designed to measure the technical infrastructure used within a health system.

The INFRAM focuses on five technical subdomains, allowing organizations to benchmark how their infrastructure operates within the following areas: mobility; security; collaboration; transport; and data center.

Similar to HIMSS Analytics’ well-known Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, or, EMRAM, the INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities required to reach their facility’s clinical and operational goals, while meeting industry benchmarks and standards.  The final stage, Stage 7, guides organizations towards optimized information integration, contextualization and orchestration essential for the delivery of higher order local and virtualized care processes.

For reference purposes, Stage 0 on the model represents that an organization does not have a VPN, intrusion detection/prevention, security policy, data center or compute architecture. Stage 3 signifies that an organization has an advanced intrusion prevention system, while Stage 5 represents having video on mobile devices, location-based messaging, firewall with advanced malware protection, and real-time scanning of email hyperlinks.

HIMSS officials note that by identifying specific benchmarks for organizations to reach before they go live with EMR, systems, the INFRAM aims to ensure that a health system’s infrastructure is stable, manageable and extensible. Through this, organizations can ideally improve care delivery and create a pathway for infrastructure development tied to business and clinical outcomes.

 “The INFRAM is a welcome addition to our maturity model suite and addresses a longstanding need – guiding healthcare organizations in securely implementing the infrastructure with which their EMRs are built upon,” Blain Newton, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “We have seen health systems engage with advanced clinical applications, only for them to ‘glitch’ under infrastructure that isn't powerful enough to support their tools. With the INFRAM, healthcare providers can develop a detailed, strategic technology plan that defines their organization's current state, desired future state, and each stage in between to achieve their clinical and operational goals.”

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