Helios Clinical Studies Show Integrating Drug Monitoring & Clinical Oversight Reduces High-Risk Medication Utilization & Costs
Memphis, TN (WorkersCompensation.com) - Helios, a workers' compensation specialty services provider, announces results from clinical studies analyzing the impact of drug testing and monitoring of injured workers. The studies, presented in September at the PainWeek and American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) conferences, showed that urine drug testing, in coordination with clinical monitoring and oversight, reduced the use and spend of high-risk medications like opioids, helping to mitigate inappropriate utilization.
Key findings of the Helios clinical studies include:
• 67.2 percent of the urine drug tests were inconsistent, indicating potentially aberrant behavior (i.e., prescribed medications were not found in the urine, non-prescribed medications were detected, and/or an illicit substance was found). Of these inconsistent results: o 66.6 percent had at least one non-prescribed medication o 46.8 percent did not show the prescribed medication o 14.9 percent had illegal medications such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin • Helios identified injured workers who had an inconsistent test result with 75 percent accuracy, while prescribers were only 51.3 percent accurate. • A higher percentage of injured workers filling their prescriptions at multiple pharmacies and/or having prescriptions for opioids written by multiple prescribers had a urine drug test result consistent with their current medication regimen. • A higher percentage of injured workers who received a prescription for a cannabinol, stimulant, and/or those that were receiving therapy of a long-acting opioid pain reliever in the absence of any short-acting analgesic returned a test result that was inconsistent with their current medication regimen. • Changes in utilization and costs were studied in injured workers who had an inconsistent drug test for 90 days prior to the test and 90 days post. Results of clinical interventions showed: o All medication use and spend had decreases:
Opioids – 34.2 percent reduction in utilization and 26.5 percent decrease in spend
Benzodiazepines – 44.4 percent reduction in utilization; 47.7 percent in decrease in spend
All other controlled substances – 35.8 percent reduction in utilization and 37.3 percent decrease in spend
o Average morphine equivalency dose (MED) per day declined from 145 mg to 100 mg o 30 percent of the test group were completely weaned off opioids
“By providing prescribers with additional information regarding unexpected drug test results, our drug testing and monitoring service has successfully reduced workers' compensation payer spend on controlled substances and other medications,” said Matthew Foster, PharmD, clinical pharmacy manager for Helios. "It also resulted in decreased therapeutic risks associated with chronic pain treatment for injured workers."
Brooke Mueller, PharmD, senior clinical pharmacist at Helios, and Dr. Foster authored the clinical studies and presented the findings at both the PainWeek and AAPM conference in September. For further details on the studies, click here to view the posters online.
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