CHIME Opioid Task Force

Huntzinger recently caught up with Bill Spooner, Huntzinger Advisor and CHIME member, to discuss the CHIME Opioid Task Force.

Created in early 2018, the CHIME Opioid Task Force has one mission: “to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic using the knowledge and expertise of the nation’s healthcare IT leaders.” Created by CIOs and CMIOs, the CHIME Opioid Task Force provides other CIOs and CMIOs with support in the fight against opioid addiction. With both knowledge and experience from CHIME members and partners, this IT-based support helps providers, healthcare enterprises and those affected by addiction with initiatives to help reduce the disease of opioid addiction.

Huntzinger recently caught up with Bill Spooner, Huntzinger Advisor and CHIME member, to discuss the CHIME Opioid Task Force.

How did the CHIME Opioid Task Force come about?
First of all, there have been addiction problems forever. After an overdose of a CIO’s family member, we as CIOs wanted to get engaged and determine what we could do to help find solutions, particularly in the area of better information. We had an organizational meeting in Washington, DC in January 2018, and there were probably around 75 people there, CIOs as well as some CHIME Foundation members. We organized tables, and you had to go around and tell your story. Almost everybody had a family or friend experience addiction, so we organized to determine what we could possibly do.

There was a group of us that worked the public policy angle to try and influence government agencies to enact regulations that would further the treatment of addiction. The education group worked on ways to communicate our message while physicians and other clinicians started compiling optimal opioid prescribing and best pain treatment practices. The fundraising committee started a campaign to fund our work.

We brought in many speakers including a spokesperson from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) as well as the author of Breaking Night: My Journey from Homeless to Harvard and others. Just people who were inspired to help.

It was really just a lot of combined effort, and everyone had their personal story and wanted to help.

What are a few initiatives for the CHIME Opioid Task Force?
One of the things that we were looking at was how software vendors could help through better prescribing workflow along with improved analytics around the patient’s past prescriptions and past usage of addictive substances to determine risk of addiction.

We’ve used the energy and momentum of the Task Force to influence the major EHR vendors to create a more thorough integration with the prescription drug monitoring databases (PDMP). Some of them created their own analytics apps, so that you can try to identify the patient’s prescribing history or other risk factors.

We created what we call a playbook, and the playbook was really for any CIO on how to get started with creating an opioid response, including forming a stewardship committee, connections with the prescription drug monitoring database as well as best pain and prescribing practices.

We also organized some webcasts and later a series of podcasts. We try to get people for 30-minute interviews about any topic, related to prescribing or anything.

For me, locally, one of the big issues in the Appalachians is the high frequency of addiction problems, so I also joined the local task force which embraced community organizations outside the hospital walls. I was able to recruit a few of these for the podcast series. One of my guests, for example, was a woman who worked extensively on how adverse childhood experiences influence later addiction and had introduced the concept of trauma-informed care locally. Another was a statewide leader who established a counseling program among faith-based organizations. We also had a recovery court judge who initiated a residential program to assist those needing strong support in their recovery.

What’s next?
It’s very clear that the job’s not done, and it’s a serious question of how we maintain the energy. We’re always looking for more support, more people to participate, new ideas.

Fore more information, click here to visit the CHIME Opioid Action Center.

Huntzinger is a proud sponsor of the CHIME Opioid Task Force. To learn more about Huntzinger Helps, click here.