According to the CDC1, around 130 Americans die daily from an opioid overdose. That translates to 47,450 people per year — imagine the population of a suburban town or small city disappearing over the course of a year.
The answer to the American opioid epidemic will take work on many fronts, including the healthcare system, the pharmacy industry, law enforcement and public policy. The common thread running through all facets of a solution to this deadly problem, however, is data analysis. Important prescriber, pharmacy and member patterns live in databases nationwide and can be detected through analytics. These patterns can point the way to different interventions.
Take for example the recent Federal opioid sting2 which allegedly found close to 60 doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals involved in illegal sales of opioids and insurance fraud in Appalachia. The criminal investigation started earlier this year and the first step in the process was sending healthcare fraud investigators to conduct data analyses to identify outliers in prescriber information.