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HEALTHieR Cloud Can Help Rural Communities Battle Opioid Misuse


I spent the early years of my adult life living in the rural Midwest. I can still remember walking down to the farm at the end of the road with an empty glass bottle to get fresh milk. For medical emergencies, we always had to drive into the nearest town which could be 20 miles away. While drugs were never a thing back in my day, today's rural communities face a number of problems including opioid misuse which has become an epidemic in recent years.

According to a recent interview in the Dickinson County News, Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett recently announced that the USDA is giving funding priority to address opioid misuse in rural communities. While telemedicine and distance learning can be part of the solution, it only treats the symptoms. Combating opioid misuse can be addressed to an integrated cloud healthcare system such as our HEALTHieR Cloud. By capturing events in real-time across hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, we can build real-time machine learning models to predict misuse, identify patients in need before it becomes a problem, and apply business rules that prevent misuse.

This type of preventative medicine is not possible with existing systems which is why we view the HEALTHieR Cloud as a disruptive technology. Within the HEALTHieR Cloud, we have a prescription drug database and a business rules repository. Therefore, we can allow regulators such as the USDA to publish rules that would prevent the dispensing of opioids by pharmacies for those who misuse the drug.

Much of what we know about opioid misuse stems from physicians overprescribing pain medications. Opioid abusers know how to scam the system, so we cannot simply rely on a single hospital system to do the job. IN a recent article about healthcare in Rural Iowa, Jackie Preston, community prevention educator with Pathways Behavioral Services pointed out that the pharmaceutical companies suggested that around 3% of persons taking a prescription opioid became addicted. Preston now claims that the number is close to 30% and that 80% of heroin users first misused prescription opioids.

In rural communities the work requires manual labor particularly in farming. Work-related injuries contribute to the rural population becoming in contact with opioids. In 2016, there were 180 opioid-related deaths in Iowa alone. Preston also points out that Americans consumer 81% of oxycodoe and 99% of hydrocodone on the global market today.

For hospital systems to take advantage of the HEALTHieR Cloud, they need to have their Chief Innovation Officer contact us at Dynamics Intelligence. We can discuss in technical terms what is required to connect the hospital system to the HEALTHieR Cloud, the world's first Global Electronic Health Repository (GEHR).

Jenna Bourgeois is CEO of Dynamics Intelligence and the lead technical architect for the HEALTHieR Cloud, the world's first Global Electronic Health Repository (GEHR).

Sources:

1. https://www.dickinsoncountynews.com/story/2503828.html 2. http://www.wallacesfarmer.com/farm-life/opioid-misuse-rural-iowa

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