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Solving the Opioid Crisis in the United States Using Technology

Info: 2142 words (9 pages) Essay
Published: 30th Jul 2021 in Information Technology

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Introduction

The abuse of opioids has become an emergency crisis in the United States of America. According to statistics, in 2015, the number of deaths surpassed those that have ever been recorded by the AIDS epidemic. The number of deaths arising from the overdose of the drug has since then been on the rise, costing the federal state more than $500 billion dollars. According to the CDC report, latest reports are yet to shock the nation, calling for immediate action. CDC associates the increase in the abuse of drugs to the ease of fentanyl as well as other synthetic opioids. Finding a lasting solution to the overuse of the opioid drugs calls for the synergy of efforts from various stakeholders such as education, healthcare, federal government, social community works, technology  and the over the counter drug sellers like the pharmaceutical industry, along with individual and family efforts (Kertesz, 2016).

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Agreeably, technology seems to the way out in providing the required for the opioid overdose in the nation. Borrowing a leaf to from how technology has brought efficient in the transmission of health data over 13.7 million transactions annually and many millions in form of e-prescriptions, then is seems to be the only way out. This technology was first used by the Surescripts Networks Alliance which has succeeded in connecting e-health records, PBMs, vendors, and pharmacists among many others in the health sector. The cross-market technology offers the best experience in terms of actionable intelligence, quality cares and appropriate medications to all patients. This aims as cross-examining contributions of technology in stopping the opioid overdose crisis in the U.S. The paper also investigates the ease of access of data and management, user friendliness, technological considerations and security issues of technology in curbing opioid overuse.

Overview/Purpose

Data Management

Truly speaking, technology has changed the face of data management in the healthcare industry. Traditional, tedious methods of keeping patient files and records are behind, and, what is on the table in new technology. EHR, is a real-time, digitized version of patient’s paper files which is easily accessible to authorized users within a short time.  Management of data has been made easy thus creating more extra time to work on the needs of the patients. In addition, technology has made is easy for tracking the history of a patient, finding out if they are under any medication at the moment before making any decision as a medical expert.

Data management has brought many advances in the public health industry. First, digitized health record systems has enhanced personal interactions and integrations with patients, creating a 360-degree window through which they can they can base their treatment records on. The next benefit of digitized public health data management is that they have created an opportunity for patients to predict their models and analysis with certain drugs based on the available health records. Another contribution of technology in healthcare data management system is that it improves the outcomes of the health status of the citizens, which is in line to the goals of the federal government on health. Other benefits of the technology is data management in the health system include improved high-impact decisions about businesses and also promotes a clear understanding of the physician’s activity by the patients (Chaudhry et al., 2006).

At this juncture, this proposal of using technology alleviating or bringing to a complete the overdose of opioid is on the right course. The paper argues that, technological advancement on personal health records is the perfect solution to the abuse of the commodity in America. Since is no literature in the use of technological advancement to curb opioid crisis in the U.S as well as other regions of the world, the scope this papers is therefore geared in filling that gap. The researcher will develop smart questions that are likely to elicit feedback from his audience. Qualitative approach of research will be used in uncovering the lying truths about technology and opioid use.

Technological Considerations

Technology has enhanced ease of access to patient health records through specials tailor-made portals. To patients, this is a great opportunity that helped them track and improve their heath consistently.  Evidence shows technology has made led to improved quality, safely and lower costs if this new-patient-centered health system. In addition, new technology has also helped boost the confidence of the patients in accepting their status and readiness to discuss with their doctors about any topic with ease. The modern technology therefore allows the patients as well as doctors to access the medical reports via portal, form from any electronic devices. It also worth to note that doctors can access patient’s history even at a point when they are unconscious and help them accordingly.

In addition, modern technology in the public health has also reduced the amount of spending on healthcare services. According to research released by the Michigan University, the amount of money spent per patient has reduced by 3%. The reduction is a plus to the patients as they can now access improved healthcare at low costs. At the same cost, doctors are also able to attend to offer enhanced care to all the patients within the same time due to the efficiency. In the case of the opioid addicts, they will as well receive personalized treatment that will boost their confidence in the fight against drugs.

Impacts of technology to medical and Patient Profession

The advancements in technology has brought many positive as well as negative impacts in the society.  The initial positive impact of the use of technology in public health is that led to increased lifespans of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases, asthmatics and cure of peptic ulceration (Hassol et al., 2004). Civilized killing for patients under euthanasia has also be enhanced through technology, a practice that was initially regarded as unethical by the society.

On the centrally, new technology has been a breeding for vices and other negative impacts in the society. Beginning with the issue of euthanasia, despite its legalization by law, many doctors are using technology to terminate the life of some patients for financial gains from people of interest. The new technology in public health has also resulted in reduction in the expected time of death. This now cuts across to even children, demented and depressed people, who thought that technology could promote their chance of living.

Opioid users in the face of technology

The healthcare community has a task of capturing and digitizing all the details of opioid users in the nation. This information can be easily available from all the legal opioid outlets, simply by integrating this features in the already existing technology linking the public health with other close stakeholders in the industry. The advancements in storage of information electronically will then allow though consideration, analysis and evaluation of customer status in regard to the product’s consumption. Information in the system will be shared by everyone linked in the system in an attempt to curb opioid overuse.

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In case you wonder how data about opioid users will be regulated now and in the future, it is easy. The government and public health already have a limit about the amount of opioid that a person can consume at any given time (Barglow, 2018). The digitized and stored record will therefore be essential to all licensed opioid vendors to determine whether a buyer can access the product or not. At this point, doctors and other health practitioners can use the available statistics to advise the determine addicts, new users and those using the product within the limits of the law. Relevant advice can therefore be given to the used in attempt of salvaging their future.

The history of issue of opioid abuse did not start yesterday, it dates back to two decades ago, in 1990s. These drug come in a wide range, prescribed and others which are non-prescribed. Fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone among other strong painkillers are some of the examples of opioids available to the general public either legally or illegally. As already sated earlier, overuse of these drugs have led to increased deaths in the U.S, thus becoming the number one crisis past the AIDS disease. Today, the misuse of this drug has become a global disaster, calling for something to be done with urgency. Despite the regulation on its legal use in some states, the numbers of illegal users are also increasing rampantly. For many countries, especially in the third world quarters, the fight against use of opioids has become unsuccessful opening doors to opioid trafficking across the borders.

Even with such devastating effects of opioid, having integrated electronic record will help deny some abusers access to the product, depending on their use index. A doctor or authorized vendor will have a window into the personal profile of the use and determine when he last used the product, and whether there is need for him to access it now. Otherwise, the doctor can send recommend that opioid client to seek the relevant assistance. The electronic should have an interface such that, they can leave recommendations for other users about the status of the patient. Going against the set regulations about opioid should lead to scrubbing off of operation licenses from the vendor or other stringent punishment so that they can see the seriousness of joining hands to fighting the vice.

Security of the electronic patient record

Digitizing all details of the opioid users is a great risk in the center of technological advancement susceptible to to cybercrimes and online scammers. In order to ensure that users’ information is kept private and confidential, only authorized access should be allowed into the electronic systems. The federal state and the relevant authorities should also ensure there is sufficient firewalls and alternative protection to the clients’ data to bar any access by strangers. To avoid losing data during system breakdowns, data may even be stored in the icloud stores (Uzych, 2004).

Budget Summary

The project to undertake this project will not cost much since technology is already in use in the public health sector and the relevant stakeholders. However, need to upgrade the systems, digitize the opioid users’ data may call for financial resources. The federal government and other stakeholders are ready to fund this project, and can be approached for any relevant amount of funding for the project.

Conclusion

The abuse of opioid is a big menace to the US and the world at large, having surpassed AIDS in the number of deaths it has claimed for more than two decades now. With the advent in technology in the public health sector, there is hope that digitizing the user detail will help stop the abuse of this products now and in the future. This paper dissected some of the benefits of technology, impacts and data management among others in light of technology and the whole aspect of opioid use. There is no doubt that the U.S will have an opioid free future if it succeeds in applying technology in the fight against opioids.

References

  • Barglow, P. (2018). Commentary: The opioid overdose epidemic: Evidence-based interventions. The American Journal on Addictions. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12823
  • Chaudhry, B., Wang, J., Wu, S., Maglione, M., Mojica, W., & Roth, E. et al. (2006). Systematic Review: Impact of Health Information Technology on Quality, Efficiency, and Costs of Medical Care. Annals of Internal Medicine144(10), 742. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-144-10-200605160-00125
  • Hassol, A., Walker, J., Kidder, D., Rokita, K., Young, D., & Pierdon, S. et al. (2004). Patient Experiences and Attitudes about Access to a Patient Electronic Health Care Record and Linked Web Messaging. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association11(6), 505-513. doi: 10.1197/jamia.m1593
  • Kertesz, S. (2016). Turning the tide or riptide? The changing opioid epidemic. Substance Abuse38(1), 3-8. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2016.1261070
  • Uzych, L. (2004). Between technology and humanity: the impact of technology on healthcare ethics. Social Science & Medicine58(4), 879. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(03)00235-1

 

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