A Virtual Ounce of Prevention

The best way to reduce opioid abuse is to reduce the number of opioid tablets being dispensed. That means we need smarter physician prescribing habits. According to the results of a Columbia University Medical Center (published in American Journal of Psychiatry), “people with moderate or more severe pain had a 41 percent higher risk of developing prescription opioid use disorders than those without, independent of other demographic and clinical factors.”

In other words, it’s not just fewer opioids for patients with less severe pain or with conditions for which there are non-opioid alternatives (such as fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy). It means we need better ways of tracking the patient experience. One solution to narrowing the gap between prescription and outcomes measurement are mobile apps. The gathering and appraisal of real world evidence can expedite identification of problems before they become deadly. If we can identify misuse earlier, we can help eradicate abuse and addiction.

Apps present us with just that opportunity – a virtual ounce of prevention.

Peter J. Pitts

Chief Regulatory Office

Adherent Health, LLC

Chairman, MHL Standards & Practices Committee