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SafeUseNow to demonstrate how its predictive analytics can be used to identify and help mitigate prescription drug abuse risk.


What if you could stop prescription drug abuse directly at the source? That’s the big public health question being addressed by SafeUseNow, an innovative prescription drug abuse risk program developed by Principled Strategies. SafeUseNow has been selected from hundreds of applicants worldwide to be part of The Hive at the annual TEDMED Conference, September 10-12 in San Francisco, CA. The Hive is a community of exceptional startups and entrepreneurs powering healthcare transformation and shaping the future of medicine.


TEDMED, an affiliate of the TED organization, is a global community dedicated to unlocking imagination in service of health and medicine. The conference takes place simultaneously in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA via a unified, digitally linked program.


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One of California’s leading Medicaid plans adopts SafeUseNow to quickly identify and help stop prescription drug abuse.


SafeUseNow, a prescription drug abuse risk identification and intervention program developed by Principled Strategies, today announced a service agreement with Partnership HealthPlan of California. Utilizing SafeUseNow’s patent-pending risk model, Partnership HealthPlan can quickly identify patients at risk of misusing and abusing controlled substance drugs, particularly prescription opioids, helping the Plan to reduce addiction among its members.

The agreement with Partnership HealthPlan was made possible through support from the John A. and James L. Knight Foundation to SafeUseNow, which offers a proven program to identify combinations of prescribers, patients and pharmacies at risk of contributing to the prescription drug abuse problem.


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JAMA article features SafeUseNow, its approach to addressing prescription drug abuse, and efforts that payers are taking to combat it.


Asked by JAMA reporter, Bridget Keuhn, to comment on the diffference between SafeUseNow and the state-run prescription monitoring programs, Patrick J. Burns, President/CEO of Principled Strategies, commented that, “[i]t’s taking it light-years ahead of what prescribers can do with a prescription drug monitoring program.” Mr. Burns further explained that the system examines patient, pharmacy, and prescription data that physicians wouldn’t have time to bring together and analyze.


The article cited a pilot program with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Jersey, where the 1200 physicians with the highest risk scores received reports comparing their prescribing patterns to others in their specialty. The reports included information about patients receiving multiple prescriptions for opioids and individuals being concurrently prescribed medications that pose a risk when used with opioids.


About 500 of those physicians took part in a follow-up phone call with a PharmD to discuss the report. Those physicians received 6 months of follow-up information, such as topical e-mails about safe medication disposal or trends in prescription drug abuse.


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PublicSource publishes article featuring SafeUseNow and its approach to identifying high-risk prescribers of controlled substance drugs.


The PublicSource article cited SafeUseNow as a winner of the Knight News Challenge: Health competition and the accompanying $208,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. SafeUseNow was chosen out of over 800 entries to the competition, which asked, “How can we harness data and information for the health of communities?”


SafeUseNow originated from a 2009 research project in which the company studied health-insurance claims and searched for a way to identify doctors whose prescription practices seemed risky.


Patrick J. Burns, President/CEO of Principled Strategies, commented, “[t]his took several years of experimentation and, along the way, discussions with dozens of industry experts to learn about behaviors most frequently associated with physicians with high-risk behaviors.”


By correlating doctors with suspended licenses or arrests to practicing physicians, Burns added that the project identified the 100 riskiest prescribers in the nation, a list that has not been released to the public.


But the research team followed up on those doctors, and Burns commented that, “[we] were surprised that 77 of them had either legal or law-enforcement activity or a disciplinary action on their record.”


Because of its accuracy, the model was turned into the product, SafeUseNow.


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SafeUseNow℠ will use data to identify incidents of prescription drug abuse with $208,000 in funding, as a winner of the Knight News Challenge: Health.


The challenge, launched in August 2013 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, sought ideas that harness the power of data and information for the health of communities. Winners were announced at the Clinton Foundation 2014 Health Matters Conference in La Quinta, California.


“We are thrilled with our selection as a Knight News Challenge winner,” said Patrick J. Burns, President of Principled Strategies, the Encinitas, California-based developer of SafeUseNow. “The prescription drug abuse rate in our Medicaid population is 10 times the rate in the privately insured population. This grant funds delivery of a powerful, validated prescription drug abuse solution to a progressive Medicaid health plan that is ready and eager to aggressively tackle this problem.”


“SafeUseNow uses data to address a pervasive problem,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation. “Prescription drug abuse is an issue that communities can engage around, revealing the impact that data can have on their lives.”


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Lawrence Feinstein, Ph.D., SafeUseNow℠ Vice President of Clinical Programs, will co-present with Tron Emptage, Chief Clinical Pharmacist, Progressive Medical and Robert Hall, MD, Medical Director, Progressive Medical in a Teaming with Clinicians session.


The conference will be held April 22-24, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia.


Data from the CDC shows that half of the nation’s population is currently taking at least one prescription medication, and one in ten people have taken five or more prescriptions in the past month. The increased use of data analytics in workers’ compensation has given Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and payors advanced warning when a claim is at risk. After clinical triage, initiating a change in therapy requires collaboration with the treating physician, but sometimes enlisting his or her help is not as easy as it should be.


This session explores the artful way PBMs and payors should approach physicians as partners in the intervention process, using proven outreach methods and collaboration-inviting communications. Attendees will hear from a physician about the value of factual presentation and the importance of conveying a plan for action. In addition, from letters of medical necessity to peer-to-peer reviews, the various tools will be demonstrated as one payor shows the results achieved after engaging its PBM and the physician in a therapy change that averted prescription medication misuse, restored a safer treatment path and reduced claim cost through faster closure.


Finally, presenters will discuss the use of Social Learning theory as a framework for customizing an intervention program that optimizes responsiveness and behavior change among the largest possible number of prescribers. The program tailors messages to address prescriber risk factors and encourage the adoption of safe use prescribing practices.


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David Schuster, President of NudgeRx, nominates SafeUseNow for The Hive at TEDMED 2014.


The conference will be held April 9-11 in Washington, DC at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Startups selected to be a part of The Hive are carefully curated from hundreds of applications, and it is a distinct achievement to have been specifically recognized and nominated by a member of the TEDMED community.


The Hive at TEDMED 2014, in association with the StartUp Health Network, will showcase and celebrate exciting innovations and the entrepreneurs that power them in an immersive and informal social environment. Game-changing startups challenging the status quo in areas like biotech, health IT, mHealth, life sciences, health tech, and more will all be part of this powerful gathering.

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Paul DuBose, PhD, SafeUseNow Vice President of Analytics, has been selected to co-chair a Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) Session.


The session, titled,"SafeUseNow: Six-month Post-intervention Outcomes for a Prescriber-Centric Controlled Substance Risk Mitigation Program", will be presented at the 26th AMCP Annual Meeting & Expo to be held April 1-4, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. This presentation reports outcomes of a multi-year SafeUseNow℠ pilot program designed to reduce behaviors (e.g., polypharmacy, multiple prescribers, over-utilization, etc.) associated with avoidable medical services and costs. Co-presenting with Dr. DuBose is Saira A. Jan, M.S., Pharm.D., Director Clinical Pharmacy Management at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, and Clinical Professor, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers State University of New Jersey.


The SafeUseNow pilot program for which outcomes are being reported was operated cooperatively with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Lawrence Feinstein, PhD, SafeUseNow Vice President of Clinical Programs, introduced the pilot program at last year’s AMCP conference in a pharmacy briefing session titled SafeUseNow: A Controlled Substance Risk Identification and Prescriber Intervention Program.


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