Preventing Harm with the Use of Opioids, Anticoagulants and Insulin

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania’s work on Adverse Drug Events (ADE) provides tools and support, and facilitates collaboration to help facilities reduce harm associated with opioids, anticoagulants, and insulin. 

Adverse Drug Events

Business Case:  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an Adverse Drug Event (ADE) is an injury resulting from medical intervention related to a drug. This includes medication errors, adverse drug reactions, allergic reactions, and overdoses.

ADEs can happen anywhere: in hospitals, long-term care settings, and outpatient settings.

In inpatient settings, ADEs:

  • Account for an estimated 1 in 3 of all hospital adverse events
  • Affect about 2 million hospital stays each year
  • Prolong hospital stays by 1.7 to 4.6 days

Each year, ADEs in outpatient settings account for:

  • More then 3.5 million physician office visits
  • An estimated 1 million emergency department visits
  • Approximately 125,000 hospital admissions

The most common cause for patients 65 years of age and older to visit emergency departments were in three medication classes:

  • Oral anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents
  • Antidiabetic agents
  • Narrow therapeutic index agents

Together, these three medication classes caused nearly half of all emergency department visits for ADEs but were prescribed in only 9.4 percent of outpatient visits.

The good news is that most ADE’s are preventable. The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania provides tools and supports, and facilitates collaboration to help facilities reduce harm associated with opioids, anticoagulants, and insulin.

Through its Opioid Learning Action Network (LAN), HAP supports Pennsylvania’s hospitals in working collectively to identify, create, and disseminate promising practices to measurably increase the number of patients entering evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and reduce overdose deaths.

HAP Contacts

For more information, contact Beth Murray. Media inquiries should be directed to Chris Daley, HAP's vice president, strategic communications.

HAP News

HAP and Pennsylvania’s Health Care Community Ask Lawmakers to Continue Telehealth Flexibilities after Pandemic Ends

HAP, WellSpan Health, and Pennsylvania’s health care community today urged state lawmakers to continue the COVID-19 regulatory flexibilities that have ensured safe access to care and to build off the outstanding innovations in telehealth during the past year.

Throughout the pandemic, hospitals and health systems have transformed to meet the needs of their patients, particularly when it comes to telehealth, said David Vega, MD, MBA, senior vice president and chief medical officer at WellSpan Health.

“State-level telehealth waivers have empowered us to meet the challenge of COVID-19 head on, and to strengthen our commitment to providing our patients with the care that they need when, where, and how they want it,” Dr. Vega said during a hearing before the House Republican Policy Committee, “and we think the results speak for themselves.”

During March 2020, Pennsylvania significantly expanded the use of telehealth services—giving patients access to telehealth appointments from their homes through video and audio technology—and increasing the list of providers who are able to see patients virtually. The state also provided comparable reimbursement for care offered via telehealth settings.

At WellSpan, the waivers and flexibilities had immediate benefits to help patients stay connected to their care, Dr. Vega said. The health system’s providers conducted 35,000 video visits from mid-March 2020 to mid-April 2020, up from just 47 video visits during the previous 30-day period, and patients have strongly endorsed continuing video visits after the pandemic ends.

Among the key takeaways from the hearing:

  • Expanded use of telehealth during the pandemic has offered significant benefits, particularly in behavioral health. These flexibilities have helped patients receive care wherever they are and helped address staffing challenges in rural areas
  • Sustainable reimbursement models are needed to build off the progress in telehealth
  • Staffing and licensure flexibilities have protected the health care workforce and allowed health care facilities to respond quickly to public health emergencies
  • Streamlined data reporting to state and federal agencies can relieve administrative burden and ensure consistent reporting

Pennsylvania needs a coordinated transition to address the state’s COVID-19 waivers and flexibilities after the pandemic ends, said Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.

“HAP strongly believes that any return to pre-COVID practices within health care should be made with caution and deliberation to avoid confusion and maintain a seamless transition,” Watkins said.

HAP will continue to advocate for Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems as lawmakers discuss the next steps for COVID-19 waivers and flexibilities. These enhanced flexibilities have played an important role to ensure safe care during the pandemic and will continue to benefit patients and providers after the pandemic ends.

HAP supports legislative initiatives, such as House Bill 1011, that would retain these waivers and flexibilities after the pandemic.

For more information, contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.