Where a patient lives might be influencing Clinician’s Opioid-prescribing decision-making

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

A large-scale analytical study published by nonprofit FAIR Health earlier this month discovered correlations between the location of residence of patients, nationally and locally, and the rates at which they filed healthcare claims for opioids.

Most importantly, this study highlights that the nature of the opioid crisis is demographically quite different from state to state. The study looked at the five most-populous cities in the country: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. It discovered the following trends about each city:

  • Out of these cities, Philadelphia has the highest proportion of claims with opioid-related diagnoses in comparison to total claims across the state.

  • Claims with opioid-related diagnoses in Los Angeles increased 31,897% from 2007 to 2016.

  • San Antonio, Texas holds only 5% of Texas’ population but is responsible for 66% of claims with opioid-related diagnoses.

  • In Illinois and Pennsylvania, males are more likely to file for claims with opioid-related diagnoses, although the gap narrows above age 50.

  • In Acutis Diagnostics’ home state of New York, the researchers found that New York City constituted 43% of the population but only 13% of the claims with opioid-related diagnoses in the state.

The researchers also found an age-related trend across the country. In suburban and rural settings, claims with opioid-related diagnoses were more concentrated among middle-aged people, whereas in cities, they were more broadly spread across all age-groups.

The study did not claim to understand why these trends have manifested, but the authors offer the following advice. All stakeholders in healthcare including patients, providers, and the government should keep a keen eye on wide trends such as these to better understand the health crisis of this era.

Here at Acutis Diagnostics, we are committed to staying at the forefront of healthcare knowledge to ensure that we can best serve the healthcare community. To view FAIR Health’s website, please follow this link. Information from this article was drawn from the study titled “Peeling Back the Curtain on Regional Variation in the Opioid Crisis: Spotlight on Five Key Urban Centers and Their Respective States.” http://www.fairhealth.org

You can download the study by clicking the link to the study below.