Improving on an Infectious Disease Referral Program for Addiction Care

October 24, 2020
Kevin Kunzmann

Kevin Kunzmann is the managing editor for Contagion, as well as its sister publication HCPLive. Prior to joining parent company MJH Life Sciences in 2017, he worked as a health care and government reporter for The Pocono Record, and as a freelance writer for NJ Advance Media, The Express-Times, The Daily Journal, and more. He graduated from Rowan University with a degree in journalism in 2015. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, running his dog, and complaining about the Mets. Follow him on Twitter @NotADoctorKevin or email him at [email protected]

A cross-specialty collaboration to mitigate inpatient cases of opioid use disorder has had early success; developers want to grow it.

New data from a University of Kentucky-based multi-disciplinary opioid use disorder (OUD) referral system presented at IDWeek 2020 showed an enrollment rate of more than 60% of eligible patients with OUD who originally presented with injection drug use-associated infection (IDU-AI) cases for care of their addiction.

The program has been anecdotally beneficial for continual drug-abuse patients with HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and other chronic conditions who continually present at inpatient care settings for IDU-AI.

What does the ideal care team look like for this cross-specialty novel program?

In an interview with Contagion® during IDWeek, Sarah Blevins, PharmD, an HIV Clinical Pharmacist with University of Kentucky, discussed her team’s unique makeup across infectious disease and addiction medicine—as well as a reliable collaboration with the university’s leading experts.

“We have an extraordinary addictions team at the University of Kentucky, and they are supportive,” Blevins said. “They’re there when we have questions, and when we need to run across tough cases, and we have that support from them.”

Blevins also discussed what next steps for the program may entail: a patient satisfaction questionnaire may inform add-on addiction medicine offerings, and there’s consideration toward adding a peer support expert to the team.

Greater hopes for such a program would be in eventual long-term data showing such a referral system is benefitting hospital admission rates, and mitigating regional issues including spiked methamphetamine abuse rates.

Watch the full interview with Blevins in the video above.