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35% of all Telehealth visits during the pandemic were related to mental health. Today we explore an important aspect of our Pandemic 2030 planning.


The surge, the 2020 data show, was driven largely by a proliferation of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid whose use has spread across the nation. The pandemic amplified the epidemic of overdoses, bringing on social isolation, trauma and job losses, according to addiction experts and treatment providers. Overdose deaths began rising in the fall of 2019 with the spread of fentanyl, but really took off starting in March 2020, when pandemic-driven shutdowns and physical-distancing measures set in. “It’s really one of those things where 2020 turbocharged something that was already wildly out of control,” Dr. Saloner said.

The deaths from drug overdoses form a twin public health crisis with Covid-19 and show how the human toll of the pandemic extends well beyond the estimated 377,883 U.S. deaths involving that disease last year. Covid-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020, after heart disease and cancer, according to preliminary mortality data. Unintentional injuries, which include drug overdoses, were the fourth-leading cause.


Isolation is powerful in its negative impact on all of us. Any planning for a future pandemic has to address how we keep people connected when safety calls for isolation. 

#healthcare #healthIT #cmio #cio #CHIME #HIMSS


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  Today in health it, this story is the drug overdose deaths. In and around the pandemic and what we can do in health it. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. VMware has been committed to our mission of providing relevant content to health IT professionals since the start.

They recently completed an executive study with MIT on the top Healthcare trends, shaping IT, resilience, covering how the pandemic drove unique transformation in healthcare. This is just one of many resources they have for healthcare professionals. For this and several other great content pieces, check out

We had two great conversations on this week in health it I wanted to make you aware of over the last two Fridays. John Halamka, the president of the Mayo Clinic platform, was on the show two weeks ago. And this past Friday, Rob de mache former CFO for UPMC was on discussing the financial state of healthcare.

Check them out at this week, And while you're at it, go ahead and sign up for clip notes so that you can stay connected. Here's today's story. This is from the Wall Street Journal. The title is US Drug Overdose Death, so nearly 30% in 2020, driven by synthetic opioids. So here's some excerpts from the story.

The Surge, the 2020 data shows was driven largely by a proliferation of fentanyl. A powerful synthetic opioid whose use has spread across the nation. The pandemic amplified the epidemic of overdoses brought on by social isolation, trauma, and job losses. According to addiction experts and treatment providers.

Overdose deaths began rising in the fall of 2019 with the spread of fentanyl, but really took off starting in March of 2020 when the pandemic driven shutdowns and physical distancing measures set in. It's really one of those things where the 2020 turbocharged, something that was already wildly out of control, Dr.

Ser said, Dr. Lenor is Brendan Lenor, associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. An estimated 57,550 people died of overdoses from synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, an increase of more than 54. Percent over 2019. According to Robert Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the CDC D'S National Center for Health Statistics, definitely fentanyl is the driving factor.

He said overdose deaths from opioids overall rose nearly 37% according to the CDC data deaths from overdoses of methamphetamine and cocaine also rose. The CDC said. I can remember thinking 30,000 was an astounding number, said Dr. Anderson. Now we're three times that it's crazy. Final overdose. Death data will likely be released in December.

He said, I. The deaths from drug overdoses form a twin public health crisis with COVID-19 and show how the human toll the pandemic extends well beyond the estimated 377,000 US deaths involving that disease last year, COVID-19 was third leading cause of death in the US in 2020 after heart disease and cancer.

According to the preliminary mortality data. Unintentional injuries which include drug overdoses. We're the fourth leading cause of death. I'm gonna go down further in the article. Many people who were receiving treatment for drug addictions or wanted it were unable to get it in the early weeks and months of the pandemic or faced disruptions or changes in services.

Treatment providers say job losses or deaths of family and friends created stress and trauma. While office and business closures reduce social interaction, depriving some of coping mechanisms they rely on, some people ended up homeless on the street where they have had trouble accessing treatment. Ms.

Tula said. It's about isolation, about disruption in life, and maybe exacerbation of mental health symptoms said Adam Maslowski, clinical coordinator for outpatient services for treatment provider. Phoenix House in Long Island City in Queens, New York. Who shifted to telehealth services early in the pandemic, but also kept a walk-in clinic open.

A lot of people love Zoom, but there's something about face-to-face contact. He said The provider has offered both in-person and virtual care since last summer. Let's go down a little further in the article. The Rising Death toll points of the need for Urgent Comprehensive Measures to address the crisis public health and treatment experts say.

The state and local governments are seeking around 26 billion from opioid manufacturers and distributors in lawsuits that seek to recover the cost of fighting the epidemic. In general, the governments alleged that the pharmaceutical industry pushed opioids. To be prescribed and distributed beyond what was medically necessary, creating widespread addiction that led to higher abuse of street opioid drugs such as heroin and illicit fentanyl.

The companies say they sold or distributed a legal product that was prescribed by doctors necessary for pain management. After years of delay, three trials are underway. New York. California, West Virginia. Some cases have settled recently. Johnson Johnson agreed to pay 230 million to the state of New York.

To resolve their case. New York, Massachusetts, and 13 other states signed on to a settlement this month with Oxycon Maker, Purdue Pharma, lp, and its owners, the Sackler family. Alright, that's probably enough from that. Lemme give you my so one on this. Couple of quick facts. To take into consideration, first of all, behavioral health was the primary user of telehealth and driver of telehealth demand.

During the peak of the pandemic, 35% of all telehealth visits. Were mental diseases and disorder related, so that's something to keep in mind if you are developing a telehealth strategy that should be taken into account. 35% anxiety and depression are the most frequent diagnosis among the highest users of telehealth.

Anxiety disorders, about 17 to 20%. Major depressive disorders, about 15% at the high end. About 8% on the low end, depending on the age demographic. . So again, I'm just bringing that up to say giving people access to someone to talk to at those times is really important. The other thing I'll say is we have to own up to our challenge of o opioids being over-prescribed and.

Chime has put together a task force. They've done a a wonderful job of bringing this to the fore, and they have put together a playbook and they have gathered the right players, both in DC and across health systems. To really address this challenge. If you want more information on that, and I highly recommend checking this out, you can go to their website, which is a secure website, https slash slash opioid action, and I highly recommend you check that out.

That's all for today. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week,, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Apple, Google Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher. You get the picture. We are. . Everywhere. We wanna thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders, VMware Hillrom, Starbridge Advisors, McAfee and Aruba Networks.

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