Tag Archive for: EHR Software

substance abuse ehr software

Addiction Fears Rise as Physicians Prescribe More Opioids for COVID-19 Survivors

Health experts claim that COVID-19 survivors are at risk for a potential second pandemic. Since physicians prescribe these patients a high rate of pain pills, going through a second pandemic of addiction to opioids is a very real possibility. Nature put out a new study that found COVID-19 survivors at Veterans Health Administration facilities had distressingly high rates of opioid use that came from helping them deal with lingering illness symptoms.

 

They found that around 10% of survivors went on to develop a condition known as long COVID. They began struggling with disabling health issues for six months or more after their initial diagnosis. For every 1,000 so-called long COVID patients doctors treated at these Veterans Affairs facilities, physicians wrote nine more opioid prescriptions than they normally would have. Additionally, they wrote 22 additional benzodiazepine prescriptions, including addictive pills to treat anxiety like Xanax.

 

Previous studies also found that COVID-19 long haulers or survivors experience a myriad of health problems that persist for months. The study’s lead author, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, found that these COVID-19 survivors are using more addictive prescription medications. Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly is very concerned that even a very small increase in people using addictive opioid medications can and will lead to the opioid crisis resurging due to the big number of COVID-19 long haulers. To date, more than three million of the 31 million survivors end up developing long-term symptoms. These symptoms can include depression, fatigue, anxiety, shortness of breath, and brain fog.

 

The study also found that several survivors also reported bone or muscle pain. The jump in prescribing opioid medications was surprising due to the very valid concerns about their risk for addiction. Dr. Al-Aly studied over 73,000 patients at Veterans Affairs facilities for his study. He said that the physicians are supposed to think twice about prescribing opioids for the pain.

 

Dr. Aly-Aly also believes that physicians need to act before it’s too late. The last thing we want is to have another opioid epidemic or a suicide crisis. But, there is a silver lining. Since 2012, new opioid prescriptions have been on the decline as physicians learned more about the medication’s addictive qualities. However, Brandeis University’s medical director of opioid policy research, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, said that doctors in the United States still write prescriptions for drugs like codeine, Vicodin, and OxyContin than doctors outside of the United States.

 

They also found that some patients who develop an addiction to these opioid medications switch to heroin. This is due to the fact that they either couldn’t get opioids from their doctors via prescription or it was cheaper. The CDC found that overdose deaths continue to rise because drug dealers are now spiking their heroin supply with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a very strong synthetic opioid. During August 2019 and August 2020, more than 88,000 people died due to an overdose. This caused health experts to advise physicians to stop prescribing these opioid medications for long-term usage.

 

President of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Greg Martin, says that COVID-19 patients that get hospitalized due to the illness tend to get much more medication to help control anxiety and pain. This is especially true for those in the intensive care units. For example, patients who end up on ventilators get sedated to help keep them comfortable. Dr. Martin voiced concerns about the findings of this study because the study suggests that COVID-19 survivors are continuing to use medications unnecessarily once they get out of the hospital to help treat persistent symptoms.

 

Some surviving patients say that they are experiencing bone and muscle pain for the first time when they previously had none. However, other patients say that COVID-19 intensified their preexisting pain sensations to whole new levels.

 

One such patient is Rachael Burnett. She is a chronic pain patient who has experienced ongoing, chronic pain in her feet and back for over 20 years. This pain stems from a warehouse accident where she used to work. In April 2020, Burnett was diagnosed with COVID-19. Since she received that diagnosis, she claims that her chronic pain is 10 times worse than it originally was. She also claims that her pain spread to her spine and to the area between her shoulder blades.

 

At the time, Burnett was already prescribed extended-release OxyContin twice every day to help manage her pain levels. Due to her increased pain, her physician prescribed her a second medication called oxycodone. This opioid can help relieve your pain straight away. In December 2020, Burnett was reinfected with a second round of COVID-19.

 

Dr. Martin said that physicians should recognize that new or an increase in pain levels can be a part of long COVID. He proposes that physicians have to find a non-narcotic treatment option for this pain, just like they would with any other type of chronic pain. The CDC has a list of alternatives to opioid medications. These alternative therapies include biofeedback, physical therapy, antidepressants, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, and anti-seizure medication. These therapies can help reduce or relieve nerve pain.

 

Additionally, Dr. Al-Aly thinks that the United States has to come up with a viable strategy to cope with the patients who have long-term symptoms of COVID-19. He believes that it’s much better to prepare in advance than to get caught off guard in a few years when physicians see a surge in opioid usage. Dr. Al-Aly noted that the study he performed might not accurately capture the full picture of COVID-19 survivors’ needs. For example, most of the patients in the VA system are male while women make up the biggest portion of long COVID-19 patients in most other studies.

 

The director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Dr. Eric Topol, said that Dr. Al-Aly’s study made it very clear that healthcare facilities in the United States aren’t ready to meet the three million long COVID-19 patients’ needs. He believes that we need a lot more intervention that will help to effectively treat these survivors. Dr. Al-Aly believes that COVID-19 long haulers may need treatment for years, and that this treatment is going to be a very large burden on the entire healthcare system.

New EHR Software Customer The Lennard Clinic

Welcoming New Customer Lennard

The Lennard Clinic Now on SMART’s EHR Software

New EHR Software Customer The Lennard ClinicNew Jersey based addiction treatment center, The Lennard Clinic has chosen the SMART Solution as their EHR software of choice. SMART Management, Inc. is partnering with both their Elizabeth and Newark locations to support their opioid treatment efforts.

The SMART Solution is designed to help improve efficiency, streamline operations and increase revenue opportunities. The comprehensive medical and clinical treatment modules allows entire treatment teams to stay up to date in real time. As a result, ease of collaboration improves among treatment teams. Better collaboration allows teams to devote more time to patient care.

Safety features are also important to providing quality patient care. One such feature is medication inventory management in the SMART Solution. This feature helps to decrease dosing errors. Therefore, patient safety increases. Additionally, this equips teams with the tools needed for DEA audits which may happen at anytime. The Clinic Director Ajbola noted that, “Oversight and accountability is very important to me. SMART gives me that.”

The centralized billing feature promotes successful revenue cycle management. The billing module includes features such as customizable reports, claims management, and payment due notifications.  All features are compliant with industry standards including ICD-10, DSM-V and HIPAA.

About

Established in 1984, The Lennard Clinic provides specialized services for individuals affected by addiction.  As a CARF accredited treatment provider they strive to improve behavioral health outcomes for the people of New Jersey. The Lennard Clinic’s SAMHSA certified services help to reduce illicit drug use and decrease criminal activities. They provide medication assisted treatment individualized treatment, group counseling and other specialized services.

 

SMART's Electronic Health Record at NJAMHAA Technology conference

NJAMHAA 2014 – SMART Software Exhibiting at the IT Focused Conference

SMART NJAMHAA TECH SMART Management is excited to attend the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) Annual Conference. The Behavioral Healthcare focused annual conference is being held April 2nd-3rd at Pines Manor in Edison, NJ.

NJAMHAA has proven to be a valuable resource for information and critical legislative changes necessary for SMART to keep our software partners up-to-date within the state of New Jersey. SMART proudly serves several prominent New Jersey customers including New Horizon Treatment Services, John Brooks Recovery Center, Habit Opco and our newest partner Urban Treatment Associates.  Working closely as partners, SMART has refined our EHR Software to meet the unique needs of each multi-modality New Jersey Treatment Organization.

SMART Software is a leader in the state of New Jersey, providing a Certified Paperless Electronic Health Record and Clinic Management Software to organizations providing Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Treatment Services.

Our Customized New Jersey Software Model allows your team to be efficient when processing and implementing NJ billing and clinical documentation requirements. SMART is looking forward to connecting with our current New Jersey Partners and to building new relationships.

About NJAMHAA

NJAMHAA is a community based system made up of members that work within the Behavioral Healthcare and Substance Abuse Treatment field. For 6 years NJAMHAA has been bringing together a variety of agencies and treatment facilities in an effort to provide this invaluable service to the state of New Jersey and to patients regardless of their financial capabilities. For more information on NJAMHAMM please visit www.njamhaa.org