News Feature | September 28, 2016

athenahealth Leverages Big Data To Help Fight Opioid Abuse

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Your Industry, Healthcare IT Clients Are Setting Sights On Big Data

Editorial Hub will share data regarding prescribing patterns and patient demographics.

athenahealth, a provider of cloud-based services and mobile applications for health systems, has announced that, as part of its commitment to data and knowledge sharing, it has launched a daily news hub called athenaInsight which will draw on data from more than 80,000 healthcare providers​ and 81 million de-identified patients on the company's network to illuminate trends in U.S. healthcare. The site will highlight provider prescribing patterns, patient demographics, and other trends surrounding opioid use.

“Healthcare suffers from a critical lack of cross-continuum information and knowledge sharing,” said Jonathan Bush, CEO, athenahealth. “With athenaInsight, we’re working to address this by putting our network — one of the largest data sets in the healthcare industry — to work. We are uniquely positioned to leverage our network data and zero-in on healthcare’s bright spots, the corners of healthcare where innovation is yielding results. We do this with our clients every day, but now with athenaInsight, we’ll share what we see, what we know, and what we learn with a much broader audience.”

As part of this initiative, athenahealth collaborated with the CDC to launch the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, an interactive, patient-specific tool designed to be used in 90 seconds at the point-of-care. According to an accompanying infographic, while dosage strength of opioids is decreasing, data shows the duration of prescriptions has not been shortened. And PCPs prescribe opioids for uninsured patients (12.7 percent) more often than for Medicaid (12.1 percent), Medicare (9.0 percent), or commercially insured (6.4 percent) patients. The data also revealed that opioids are most commonly prescribed to patients over the age of 46.

“The current landscape of opioids in healthcare is complex and continues to evolve,” said Dr. Todd Lininger, Chief Medical Officer, Prospira Pain Care. “Having technology serve as a partner in our fight against this epidemic is essential – from helping to understand regulations, serving up best practices, and even taking the lead on reaching out directly to providers and patients when clinically necessary. The work that athenahealth is doing across its platform is exactly what healthcare needs.”