As the nation is struggling to come to terms with two most disturbing health issues – opioids and mental health, a new collaborative between 13 largest health systems in Minnesota seems to fight these problems on a different scale. The Minnesota Health Collaborative has been active since January 2017 and is presently focused on identifying the needs and solutions, and developing best practices and new approaches to improve levels of care. The health systems include Mayo Clinic, HealthPartners and Essentia Health among others.
The chief medical officer of the institute, Dr. Claire Neely, said that there were many things that needed to be done and discoveries to be made. She explained that the plan is to have the health providers learn from each other, work out which approach works best and then implement it statewide, as quickly as possible.
Two core issues addressed in joint effort
The CEO of HealthPartners, Andrea Walsh says that the members of Health Collaborative tried to use their collective power to influence the creation of new inpatient mental health care facilities and in the process, rewrite treatment protocols for people in the early stages of a mental illness. The people living in the state have experienced long wait times for emergency treatment and as a result, did not receive appropriate services or got delayed treatment that deteriorated their mental health. The collaborative work did not promote the use of medication rather identified better options for patients who visited hospitals in acute conditions.
In order to curb opioid overuse practices, the health systems have developed unique prescribing standards that are in various stages of implementation. This has been an important step to lower the number of people at risk of developing an addiction. By limiting the dose and duration of prescription opioids, they hope to prevent the risk of substance use disorder statewide. Making these standards as universal as possible will also reduce the supply of the drug in the state.
Help for patients with acute and postoperative pain
The opioid prescription standards are meant for acute and postoperative pain in order to ensure that the smallest quantity of the medication is prescribed for acute pain, not exceeding 100 morphine milligram equivalents (MME), and only for three days in the beginning. In order to manage postoperative pain, the procedure is divided into five levels with appropriate dose of medication. Apart from this, easy and safe disposal of leftover opioid medication by patients has also been suggested. For patients with chronic pain or those at a high risk of overdose, the collaborative has also focused on providing easy access to essential services.
The biggest advantage of a collaboration could be that the best possible measures can be put in place, after learning and improving from the failures of their peers. Several examples have been set over the years, like the Chronic Opioid Analgesic Therapy (COAT), started by Essentia Health, is an effective program that helps chronic opioid users to either cut down or end dependence on opioid medications. According to the CEO, David Herman, Essentia Health was one of the first organizations to build an application that helps providers check a patient’s history and track how many opioids have been prescribed already.
Recovery from drug abuse
It cannot be ignored that the abuse of prescription drugs, for whatever reason, has adverse effects on not just the life of an individual but also his/her family. The mental and physical health of a person, who is dependent on or addicted to the substance deteriorates with time leaving no room for improvement unless treatment is sought immediately.
If you know someone addicted to any prescription medication, encourage him/her to seek professional help at the earliest. Contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline for information on the best inpatient prescription drug rehab centers in your vicinity. Our representatives can connect you to some of the renowned prescription drug rehab centers that offer evidence-based treatment for addiction. You can chat online with an expert or dial our 24/7 helpline (866) 450-1557 for quick assistance.