Power BI visual reports help Samaritan Health Services work to reduce opioid addiction in Oregon

Jul 17, 2017   |   Susanna Ray

A person wearing a stethoscope types on a computer

The opioid crisis has become a serious public health issue in the U.S. that affects almost every community and family in some way, with opioid overdose rising to become the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50.

Ryan Combs, the vice president of Primary & Specialty Care at Samaritan Health Services, says Oregon was leading the nation in estimates of non-medical use of opioid prescriptions, so his organization took a three-pronged approach: Build consensus agreement on a prescribing policy, commission a task force and make it easier to tap helpful resources.

Data analytics underpinned the whole approach, Combs says, as the organization leveraged Power BI visual data reports showing provider prescribing trends, the exact drug used and the age and sex of patients, among other indicators. The data helped clinicians have tough conversations with patients about their overuse of opioid pain medications, and it helped show that the health group’s reduction efforts were working, Combs says.

To read the full Q&A with Combs, with advice for others working on opioid intervention programs, visit the Microsoft Health blog.

Susanna Ray
Microsoft News Center Staff

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