Integrating Social Determinants of Health and Laboratory Data: A Pilot Study To Evaluate Co-Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines

Integrating Social Determinants of Health and Laboratory Data: A Pilot Study To Evaluate Co-Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines

Jill S. Warrington, MD, PhD1,2, Nick Lovejoy, BS, MPH3 , Jamie Brandon, BA1 , Keith Lavoie, BS1 , and Chris Powell, BA1

Abstract

As the opioid crisis continues to have devastating consequences for our communities, families, and patients, innovative approaches are necessary to augment clinical care and the management of patients with opioid use disorders. As stewards of health analytic data, laboratories are uniquely poised to approach the opioid crisis differently. With this pilot study, we aimed to bridge laboratory data with social determinants of health data, which are known to influence morbidity and mortality of patients with substance use disorders. For the purpose of this pilot study, we focused on the co-use of opioids and benzodiazepines, which can lead to an increased risk of fatal opioid-related overdoses and increased utilization of acute care. Using the laboratory finding of the copresence of benzodiazepines and opioids as the primary outcome measure, we examined social determinants of health attributes that predict co-use. We found that the provider practice that ordered the laboratory result is the primary predictor of co-use. Increasing age was also predictive of co-use. Further, co-use is highly prevalent in specific geographic areas or “hotspots.” The prominent geographic distribution of co-use suggests that targeted educational initiatives may benefit the communities in which co-use is prevalent. This study exemplifies the Clinical Lab 2.0 approach by leveraging laboratory data to gain insights into the overall health of the patient. To read the full article in Academic Pathology, click here. 

Copyright Academic Pathology 2019. Cited with permission.


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