The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) recently held its first Opioid Task Force meeting in which more than two dozen healthcare IT leaders gathered to determine how they could help fight the opioid epidemic.
CHIME announced the Opioid Task Force at the association’s CIO Fall Forum last year. The motivation behind the idea came after the unfortunate passing of Timothy Kopetsky, the son of Ed Kopetsky, who is the CIO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.
Only 31, Tim had fought addiction to opioids for 10 years, and was in successful recovery for the last five years. In helping a friend who relapsed and survived an overdose, Tim came into contact with heroin and lost control. He died that same evening; his friend returned from the hospital and died of a second overdose the next day.
Ed Kopetsky, along with Turnbull, CIO of University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City; and Russ Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME, set out to create the Task Force; last week was the first meeting, which took place in Washington, D.C.
The CHIME Opioid Task Force will look to leverage the core competencies of CHIME and its membership to increase awareness and destigmatize the opioid crisis. CIOs and their industry partners are well-positioned to help identify best practices and build evidence to prevent, identify and treat opioid misuse and addiction. The task force also will look for opportunities to partner with other organizations, front-line medical staff, researchers, care givers and government agencies and help guide effective public policy, according to CHIME officials.
Opioid overdose claims 115 lives a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A disease that now takes more lives annually than automobile accidents and that sends more than 1,000 people a day to emergency rooms.
“Opioid addiction is truly an epidemic,” Kopetsky said 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.”
CHIME will serve as the organizing body for the task force and provide support and resources.