As the opioid epidemic in the United States continues to affect millions, medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, has risen as one of the leading options in treating substance use disorders.
The method can be used to treat a number of substance use disorders (SUDs), including opioid, alcohol, and tobacco addictions, helping patients control cravings, eliminate pleasure of usage, withdrawal symptoms, and dangerous health effects.
While it was once regarded as a dangerous method that replaced one addiction with another, MAT is considered safe and easy-to-control. New advancements have decreased the likelihood of overdose due to MAT-related drugs, and more and more providers and payers are recognizing its viability.
While an increased interest in MAT represents progress in addressing SUDs, it presents a problem for facilities: can they handle the increased patient load?
Medication-Assisted Treatment Works, and Payers Are Realizing It
Medication-assisted treatment includes more than just methadone. Two other drugs regularly used in MAT include naltrexone (Vivitrol®), which is taken by pill or injection and is also effective for treating alcohol dependence; and buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®). Buprenorphine in particular is considered promising due to its “ceiling effect” which makes it far less likely to contribute to an overdose than methadone.
These advancements have made MAT safe and easy-to-control, and big-time payers are recognizing its value. In November, sixteen healthcare payers representing 248 million people agreed to adopt eight “National Principles of Care” for the treatment of addiction that will improve outcomes and save lives. One of these eight principles included a commitment to MAT.
The release read, “Just like with any other chronic disease, medication is appropriate for treating some addictions. It should be destigmatized and easily accessible.”
The landmark Opioid Crisis Response Act signed into law this October also loosened restrictions on MAT and created grant programs to go toward Medicare and Medicaid coverage of MAT.
Encouraging patients to use MAT is one of several ways both the government and industry players have pushed to address the opioid crisis. At the state level, legislation requiring prescribers to consult PDMPs is intended to reduce unnecessary or dangerous prescription of addictive painkillers.
With Increasing Patient Load, How Do I Avoid Being Buried in Work?
Medication-assisted treatment is highly valuable in addressing substance use disorders, and it’s an important step forward. Yet, more patients being covered for MAT means more patients for MAT providers to treat, and that means more charting and detailed documentation.
With so many patients to process, some clinicians are forced to sacrifice valuable time with their patients. One survey estimates doctors spend up to two-thirds of their time on paperwork, rather than with patients.
Facilities using paper systems or a medication administration reporting tool that stands alone outside of the patient record are especially susceptible to fall behind with the increased patient load. As clinicians do scheduling in one software or paper, medical documentation in a second software or paper, administration in a third software or paper, eRx and labs in a fourth or fifth software or paper, and so on, the amount of paperwork piles up with every new patient. These visits need to be streamlined and efficient so proper care can be managed and monitored.
AZZLY® Rize™ was created from the ground up to be that solution. Our easy-to-use AZZLY Rize software allows clinicians to accomplish scheduling, medical documentation, administration, eRx, custom reports, outcome measures and labs all-in-one system. Click here to learn more about how AZZLY Rize can transform medication-assisted treatment facilities, or schedule a time with one of AZZLY’s industry experts for a free guided demonstration of the AZZLY Rize solution.
See how our software can allow you to accomplish tasks quicker and easier, and regain valuable face-to-face time with your patients.