The power is out, the roads are impassable, and many people have fled their homes: your community has been struck by a tornado. As you and your neighbors work to pick up the pieces after the storm passes, you realize that you are almost out of the medication that you use to manage your chronic condition. Your pharmacy has no power and cannot transfer your prescription. Just as you start to panic, the receptionist at your doctor’s office calls and tells you they have sent your prescription to the pharmacy down the street. You breathe a sigh of relief knowing that everything is going to be okay.Unfortunately, receiving medication during treatment interruptions is rarely this easy for individuals seeking treatment for an opioid addiction.
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Imagine a severe storm disrupts services at opioid treatment programs (OTPs) in your community, leaving most of them closed due to flooding and loss of power. Then imagine being a patient whose access to needed medications could mean the difference between sustaining recovery or relapsing. Fortunately, OTPs in a nearby community are open and providing services.When this happens, can OTPs share patient data with other OTPs and help patients receive accurate dosages of their medications? How can individuals control the exchange of their patient data? Can this process work in a way that adheres to federal confidentiality laws?
SAMHSA needs your help to develop innovative solutions to support recovery. Health Information Technology (HIT) has transformed the way health care providers can communicate, document, treat, and support their patients. HIT also puts healthcare into the hands of patients, families, and communities. That’s why SAMHSA is proud to announce two new challenges that call for technology-based innovations that will promote the public health and safety of communities across the country.CHALLENGE 1: SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Challenge
After Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, many Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) were unable to keep their doors open. This meant that over 1,000 patients who were served by these OTPs were unable to receive treatment and medications they needed; medications that mean the difference between relapse and sustained recovery.In order to improve access and help ensure continuity of care for patients in OTPs, SAMHSA developed the Service Continuity Pilot (SCP) project as a component of SAMHSA’s Health Information Technology strategic initiative.
Just like a person with type 1 diabetes needs insulin to stay healthy, a person in Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid dependence needs to be able to access needed medications. In fact, for a person in treatment for opioid dependence, access to Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) can mean the difference between relapse and sustained recovery.
In order to improve access to, and continuity of, care for patients in OTPs, SAMHSA’s Health Information Technology (HIT) team partnered with SAMHSA’s Division of Pharmacologic Therapies to develop and pilot new data sharing technologies for patients to use in the event of service disruptions. Request for Contracts (RFC) for this program will be released on February 15, 2015.
This week, SAMHSA released its strategic plan for the next four years, Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015 – 2018 (Leading Change 2.0).