What are 5 Ways Health Execs Can Shift the Opioid Crisis?

Drug overdoses now lead the charge in cause of accidental death in the United States. Many experts point to specific events such as legislation that was passed and pharmaceutical companies introducing powerful, long-acting drugs. These are critical to point out but avoid the true ramifications of the crisis.

Building Cooperation

While the epidemic of opioid use is systemic, it will require cooperation of virtually all segments of businesses, governments, and communities to address the issue at hand. Many healthcare leaders are asking what can be done and some of the following are ideas which may give a running start for health execs to start making a shift in the opioid crisis.

Consider drug free therapy for chronic pain

More than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and many thousands are dying following prescription drug overdoses. The conclusion rests in that prescription pain meds must be used correctly or risk being deadly. The quantity of opioids needed will always increase if allowed by a doctor. Alternative pain management can include: massage therapy, physical therapy, and aromatherapy, to name a few. Considering these options may help weigh pros and cons against opiate use.

Establish realistic pain management goals

Prior to starting a treatment plan, it is critical physicians and patients establish realistic goals to balance the need for pain relief with other outcomes such as quality of life. All pain may not be eliminated but it can be mitigated by many factors. A person who manages realistic goals can develop a better long-term solution than painkillers for pain relief.

Reporting Standards

Data are part of the healthcare industry’s defense when it comes to prevention of unnecessary opioid prescriptions and misuse. Prescription drug monitoring programs are utilized to allow 360-degree accountability by tracking patients’ opioid use and prescribing history of doctors. When the whole patient care team has access to a system, individual members become empowered to recognize and intervene at the first sign of problem behaviors.

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