NJHA, trust spending $1.5M to help statewide ERs fight opioid abuse

The New Jersey Hospital Association and the Health Research and Educational Trust are investing $1.5 million to provide hospital emergency departments with an opioid prescription tracking tool, the NJHA announced Wednesday.

The Princeton-based NJHA said the tool developed by Collective Medical supplies automatic clinical alerts to the emergency room to inform health care workers of a patient’s prescription history. The alerts, which are drawn from the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, activate when the patient enters the hospital’s record system, which eliminates the need for a worker to search the database.

The tool helps to identify any patient who visits different medical facilities for multiple opioid prescriptions.

“We’ve seen far too many drug victims come into our EDs when it’s already too late to save them,” NJHA CEO and President Cathy Bennett said in a prepared statement. “NJHA has embraced a new mission and vision of improving the health and well-being of the people in our state and, today, we’re backing that commitment with a significant investment.

“While opioid abuse is one of our most urgent needs, this resource has the potential to be a powerful population health tool through better coordination across care settings.”

The NJHA said 2,284 people in New Jersey died of an overdose in the period from July 2016 to June 2017. That was up nearly 35 percent from the previous 12 months, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Collective platform rollout is underway in hospitals around the state, the NJHA said.

“The Collective network helps care teams find those patients most in need, and coordinate on the best path forward for each individual,” Collective Medical CEO Chris Klomp said in a statement. “We’re proud to work with NJHA, HRET and hospitals throughout New Jersey as part of the movement to collaborate nationwide for better patient outcomes.”

The funding from the HRET will assist in the installation and first-year use of the platform in acute care hospitals.