The opioid crisis killed more people in 2016 than the entire Vietnam War, and remains a public health emergency.

Fortunately, recent federal legislation provides nearly $1 billion in funding for research, rehabilitation services and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to help fight the epidemic. Emergency Departments (EDs) play a critical role on the frontlines.

Of the 140 million annual ED visits in the U.S., 10 to 16 percent are related to chronic pain. And from July 2016 through September 2017, ED visits for opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent. Addiction is complex, and patients are at different phases of the illness when they come to the ED.

That is why EDLoop created our Opioid Dependence Content specific to EDs. The clinician can use EDLoop to automatically text assessments, Fentanyl test strip resources, MAT protocols, rehabilitation services in their area, and videos, such as how to use Narcan. Plus, assessments and counseling are billable services.

Starting MAT in the ED, such as buprenorphine, shows early promise to be a cost-effective way to decrease opioid use. By using EDLoop’s HIPAA-secure platform to place the information directly on a patient’s phone, clinicians can maximize our chances to break the cycle of addiction. Without a digital strategy from the ED, the full potential of the new legislation will not be realized.