Appriss was originally founded in 1994 to assist victims of violent crime by providing electronic notification to them when their offenders were released from prison. Now, through its Appriss Health business division, Appriss is responding again to the health and welfare needs of the community by playing a role in curtailing the epidemic of substance use disorder across the country.
In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that “overdoses involving prescription painkillers are at epidemic levels,” having more than tripled in the prior decade. Kentucky’s experience has been more severe than that of many other states. According to the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, deaths due to drug overdose quadrupled from less than 250 in the year 2000 to 1,248 in 2015.
Appriss Health saw a need and wanted to help. Specifically, the company provides data and analytic solutions that help pharmacies, providers and state governments monitor and manage substance use nationwide. “With solutions for both prescription monitoring and methamphetamine tracking, we are instrumental in providing real solutions to inform and support decision-making related to substance use,” said Appriss Health President Robert Cohen.
For pharmacy systems and providers, Appriss Health helps to manage substance use with prescription monitoring solutions and to prevent over-the-counter (OTC) drug diversion with methamphetamine tracking software. These systems are directly integrated into pharmacists’ Electronic Health Records (EHRs), thus optimizing their workflow. Its robust analytics tool and care management platform helps both dispensers and prescribers to quickly and efficiently identify, analyze and manage real-time controlled substance data.
“Of the 52 programs offered across the nation for prescription drug monitoring solutions, Appriss provides the platform for 42 of them,” said Cohen. “We send prescription drug information and analytics into EHR and pharmacy systems over 22 million times a month.” He then explained why that’s important: “We’re committed to helping providers, and others involved in patient care and oversight, work together to achieve better outcomes through earlier intervention. Our solutions make accessing and interpreting prescription drug history more effective and efficient. When a physician or pharmacist views a patient’s history, she has to interpret that history and decide what it’s telling her,” he said. “We are able to run machine modeling against that history to generate risk scores, so the physician or pharmacist can look at the scores and get a quick snapshot of a patient’s risk level and, if needed, can also dive into all the data,” said Cohen
For providers, this snapshot can provide vital real-time information. Jim Huizenga, MD, Appriss Health’s Chief Clinical Officer, is also an emergency department doctor and military flight surgeon. He says that at-a-glance access helps him and other providers do their job more quickly and glean critical information. “When you have our system, scores are automatically provided for every patient, and if you need to look deeper, it’s one click of a button and you can make an assessment—Do controlled substances play a role in this patient’s life? When you score every patient in the ER, you begin to realize how many people use these potentially dangerous medications chronically.”
Huizenga said the systems can alert doctors to potentially dangerous situations, create a setting for interventions that might not otherwise have occurred and even save lives. According to Huizenga, shortly after Appriss rolled out a monitoring system in South Carolina, he heard a story of how a physician was able to identify a problem and intervene.
“The doctor thought everything looked appropriate and was ready to prescribe pain medications to a patient, but when he checked that patient’s risk score, it was very high,” said Huizenga. “After the physician looked further at the data, he decided that the patient had a drug problem and needed help. The patient agreed, and the doctor was able to arrange follow up for him. The physician said, ‘This system you implemented just saved a patient’s life.’ If you multiply that by the millions of encounters being supported right now, it can and should have an impact,” said Huizenga.
Appriss Health’s motto is “Knowledge for Good,” and Huizenga said he believes that is being perfectly realized through the software and analytics offered by Appriss to benefit communities nationwide. “We’re taking in data and turning it into information that is fluidly provided in settings where people can use it for good—for saving lives or for informing people of dangerous situations across the board. Given the opioid epidemic and the number of deaths that, unfortunately, continue to increase all across the country, I can’t think of a problem and solution that more aligns with our mission.”
Appriss Health is protecting the health and welfare of our citizens by helping to manage substance use with prescription monitoring solutions and to prevent OTC drug diversion with methamphetamine tracking software.
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