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Using a Novel Comprehensive Linked Dataset to Determine Early Predictors of Opioid Overdose

A new study is focused on understanding how the relationship between patients and where they live affects patients’ likelihood of an opioid overdose, with the goal of identifying the most at-risk patients. HealthInsight, a nonprofit health care improvement organization, is working with researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brandeis University and McLean Hospital. The five-year study (2018 through 2023) is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Every 19 minutes, one American dies from an opioid overdose. While a great deal of attention has been focused on reducing these deaths in the past decade, with numerous interventions and training programs being created to address risky prescribing, there are still critical gaps in knowledge regarding factors that can predict overdose risk. Previous studies have identified some patient factors associated with higher risk of overdose, but little research has examined how these interact with household and community risk factors to affect overdose likelihood.

To shed more light on this gap, this study aims to first create an innovative combined dataset known as the Oregon Comprehensive Opioid Risk Registry (CORR). This dataset, which is an amalgam of several unique public health datasets, will allow researchers to better understand how a patient’s overdose risk is modulated by household- and community-level prescription availability.

Researchers hope the results of the study will inform clinical practice on how to identify patients at the highest risk of overdose and modify prescription decisions based on the characteristics of those patients and where they live.

“We are excited to learn new information about the opioid overdose epidemic, which we hope will eventually be used to improve the health of Oregonians and all Americans,” says Scott Weiner, M.D., MPH, the study’s principal investigator.

Dr. Weiner is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Weiner and researchers at HealthInsight have collaborated on a previous study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts to optimize prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) user interfaces and understand how these important databases influence physicians’ decision making.

About HealthInsight
HealthInsight is a regional health improvement collaborative that oversees affiliated 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations in Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah, and End Stage Renal Disease Networks across the western United States. HealthInsight holds contracts and grants in key areas of health care improvement, including leading quality improvement activities for the Medicare program as the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for the four-state region. HealthInsight has experience assisting front-line providers and engaging health care stakeholders to improve health care and outcomes. Its programs focus on transparency and public reporting; effective use of health information technology; engaging patients and communities to improve their health; and redesigning how care is paid for and delivered.

In April 2018, HealthInsight and Qualis Health announced a formal merger, combining the two organizations and their operations across the U.S. Both Qualis Health and HealthInsight have been engaged in health care quality consulting and providing quality improvement services for more than 40 years.

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