How Texas hospitals are syncing data in battle against opioid abuse

The Texas Hospital Association is helping hospitals combat the opioid crisis by adapting existing technology to give providers better information when they need it, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Some association members started using Smart Ribbon technology last year to give physicians "just-in-time" information while treating a patient.

The technology lets physicians easily see when a patient was prescribed pain pills at another hospital so they can avoid overprescribing opioids.

"It's like a Google Toolbar, providing an efficient shortcut to the information needed in real time like: what labs has the patient had? What medications have they been on? What tests have been ordered? Instead of looking all over for this information, it synchronizes it in one easy place," said Nicholas Desai, DPM, enterprise CMO with Houston Methodist Hospital, explaining the technology further.

The ribbon technology began coming together about six months ago and aimed to ensure physicians would not have to exit their EMR to look for a patient's prescription history, said Fernando Martinez, PhD, senior vice president and chief digital officer with the Texas Hospital Association.

"Essentially, when a physician is in an encounter, it's an episode-context aware and patient-context aware tool," Dr. Martinez said. "It's elegant not only because of its effectiveness: it's elegant because of its simplicity."

More articles on opioids: 
Opioid epidemic pushes Starbucks to install needle-disposal boxes in bathrooms
Viewpoint: Hospital-based physicians must share what they know to end opioid crisis
6 ways UC San Diego Health is fighting the opioid epidemic

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