Author: David Bartlett, Vice President of Federal Government Affairs
Dec 4, 2017
The recent government declaration that opioid abuse is a public health emergency is just the latest news to shine a light on this horrible epidemic. With more than 150 deaths per day attributed to opioid abuse, the epidemic’s impact on our population, families, health services, law enforcement and government at all levels has been tremendous and tragic.
What makes the opioid crisis somewhat unique is that unlike recreational drugs, opioids have a legitimate use, when properly prescribed by licensed medical professionals. While estimates indicate that much of the opioid abuse crisis is due to illegal drugs such as heroin, more than 11.5 million Americans ages 12 and older reported in 2016 that they had misused prescription opioids within the previous year. These are prescriptions provided in good faith that were either abused by the person for whom they were prescribed or obtained fraudulently using legitimate channels, such as shopping prescriptions to multiple pharmacies by paying for medications with methods that are hard to trace.
Just for a moment, I would like to suggest we focus on an analytical solution to help prevent the problem of legitimate opioid prescriptions being filled and used illegally. We currently use Big Data analytics for everything from telling you that you’re 50 feet from your favorite coffee shop to helping map the human genome. Now is the time to turn on the power of big data analytics to help stop the opioid crisis. So, how can data help?
EagleForce Associates, Inc. offers real-time, minute-by-minute monitoring of pharmaceutical medications through proprietary advanced and predictive analytics technology.
Real-time analytics solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing pharmacy networks, coupled with universal ID technology and advanced analytics/neural computing, can provide subscribers with universal monitoring and analysis of qualified prescriptions, including the pharmacy location and payment type. The bottom line is that these data analytics can be used immediately to proactively STOP fraudulent opioid transactions.
CenturyLink is committed to improving the lives of the people and communities we serve. Our collaboration with EagleForce enables a real-time analytics solution that seamlessly integrates with existing pharmacy networks.
We can connect pharmacies to data analytics so a pharmacist is alerted that the prescription being filled may have already been filled by a different pharmacy in a different state. Cash payments for prescriptions to avoid tracking can be traced as well.
Most pharmacies are already connected, and most states have prescription drug monitoring programs with compliance rules for these sorts of transactions, but these programs have yet to integrate a data analytics engine. They lack the ability to analyze prescription data in real-time. Finding out 10 days, or even 10 hours, after the fact that the prescription was filled twice simply adds to the problem, and the inability to track cash payments for prescriptions hampers the ability to stop these transactions.
But today we can use data analytics to reduce opioid fraud and help save lives! We could potentially save hundreds of lives per week and thousands of lives per year, not to mention significantly reduce the number of people who first become addicted to prescription opioids and then move on to illegal drugs.
CenturyLink is looking to answer these questions and more by working with EagleForce to meet this 21st century problem with a 21st century solution.
With accuracy rates more than 97 percent, this real-time authorization and alert service tracking the dispensing of opioid prescriptions can help dramatically reduce the fraudulent purchase of legally prescribed opioids.
To learn more, visit our website at CenturyLink.com/federal.