CHIME launches Opioid Task Force, hopes to rally CIOs to take on the epidemic

The group held its first meeting with some two dozen attendees this past week and hopes to encourage even broader participation among its 2,500-plus members across the U.S. and abroad.
By Mike Miliard
12:26 PM
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CHIME opioid task force

The opioid epidemic is taking 115 lives each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, impacting thousands of families from all corners of the United States.

Ed Kopetsky, chief information officer at Palo Alto, California-based Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, lost his son Timothy to a heroin overdose this past October. Tim Kopetsky had battled opioid addiction for a decade, but relapsed while trying to help an addicted friend – who would also overdose soon after.

After Tim's memorial services, two of Ed's good friends – fellow CIO Jim Turnbull from University of Utah Health and CHIME CEO Russell Branzell – decided to do something to help fight this ongoing crisis.

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In November 2017, CHIME announced the launch of its Opioid Task Force at its Fall CIO Forum. This past week, the group held its first meeting in Washington, D.C.

As IT leaders from all corners of the health industry – hospitals, vendors, technology innovators, healthcare associations and more – harness their own areas of expertise to help combat this crisis, CHIME also aims to join the fight, channeling the deep knowledge and resources of its CIO members.

[Also: Alliance to press lawmakers to fight opioid abuse with interoperability]

CHIME serves as the organizing body for the task force and will continue to provide support and resources to encourage even broader participation among its 2,500-plus members across the U.S. and abroad, officials said.

The Opioid Task Force will capitalize on the core competencies of its health IT professional members, to help destigmatize the crisis and drive awareness about the risks of opioids.

Specifically, the group says CIOs are positioned, with access to key healthcare data, to help highlight best practices evidence-based strategies to prevent, identify and treat opioid misuse and addiction.

The group also plans to leverage its relationships with other professional associations, industry leaders and public policymakers – as well as seeking opportunities to partner with front-line medical staff, researchers and caregivers – to help guide the all-hands-on-deck effort.

"Opioid addiction is truly an epidemic," said Kopetsky in a statement. "As healthcare leaders committed to improving the public health in our communities, CHIME members and CHIME Foundation firms can make a difference if we work together. We have the tools and the talent, and now we have a framework to help those like Tim who are in need."

"We need to empower and assist the healthcare community and help them see that there are pathways to success, whether that is eliminating overprescribing of opioids, finding interventions in clinical care or following best treatment practices," added Turnbull. "CHIME members have the data and skills to illuminate what has worked and what hasn’t."

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Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com