Can data analytics help stop the opioid crisis?

data analytics, opioid crisis, big dataRachel EckertBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

As the country grapples with a growing opioid crisis, many state and local governments have been struggling to fight this battle through a myriad of health and law enforcement resources. Some are doing better than others in their attempts to fight this health care disaster.

But there’s more that these jurisdictions, with the help of the IT industry, can do to battle the crisis through the use of technology, specifically, analytics.

Massive amounts of health data are being already collected through state and local prescription drug monitoring systems. Every state except Missouri has a statewide prescription drug monitoring system, and 37 of these 49 states share their data with a national system called PMP InterConnect from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. While sharing this data nationally is a crucial first step, the problem lies with how they are using that data to its full potential. Data analytics should come into play.

If state and local governments were to combine information from multiple sources, say prescription drug monitoring databases, welfare databases and law enforcement databases, governments could compile a much richer picture of the crisis and start to make more informed and proactive decisions.

It’s the coordination and analysis of this data where states will need to turn to the IT industry for solutions. Just collecting and storing the data is not enough, in order to make impactful decisions on how and where to deploy resources. Data integration and analysis technologies will need to be utilized if government expects to make an impact on the opioid crisis.

Government operations are traditionally siloed, so this is no small task. State and local government agencies can be reluctant to share information with each other. Garnering the support from multi-stakeholder organizations like a task force or a joint committee can be the key to success as seen in Indiana where health data on opioid overdoses is being shared with law enforcement.

In the absence of a task force, as many state and local governments haven’t formed this type of support, industry should work to bring together IT, law enforcement and health professionals. Government should also look to the IT sector to work as a broker to coordinate the requirements and develop a cohesive strategy that helps everyone come together in a unified approach.

Need help identifying the right state and local government data analytics decision makers? Contact immixGroup’s industry-leading Market Intelligence team today to learn about specific programs and contacts that have a pressing need for your IT solution.

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