Photo: Carla K. Johnson
Photo: Carla K. Johnson

LexisNexis uses big data to combat opioid crisis

Big data is playing a behind-the-scenes role in responding to the opioid crisis.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions is using its trove of data and analytics tools to help doctors better treat those with addictions and to prevent the prescription painkillers from getting into the wrong hands.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions is a sister company to Lexis Nexis, which is headquartered in Miami Twp. and employs about 3,000 people locally. Risk Solutions also has employees in Dayton.

Data is set to play a bigger role in treating the addicted and shutting down black market prescription fraud.

RELATED: ‘Collective effort’ makes difference on opioid epidemic

The U.S. Department of Justice announced in August that it was starting an “opioid fraud and abuse detection unit” that will rely on data in their efforts to root out pill mills and track down doctors and other health care providers who illegally prescribe or distribute narcotics such as fentanyl and other powerful painkillers.

The opioid overdose epidemic has had an outsized impact on Montgomery County. There were a little over 500 overdose deaths recorded by November, which is far less than projected early in the year though still high.

Justin Hyde, director of LexisNexis’ Health and Human Services Solutions, said customers like Medicaid managers, commercial insurers, law enforcement and other government agencies all want to minimize their risk and better understand the people they are working with.

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“Everybody involved has different ways of getting around the system and based off of our data, we’re helping to minimize their exposure,” he said.

Like when prescriptions get distributed to users, there’s a number of people involved like doctors, pharmacists and patients.

Hyde said his team can dig into things like whether a doctor is under financial distress or has a history of violations that make at risk for abusive prescribing. It can identify anomalies like patients getting prescriptions that don’t match a diagnosis.

“Everybody involved has different ways of getting around the system and based off of our data, we’re helping to minimize their exposure,” he said.

RELATED: $2M federal grant to aid Montgomery County opioid overdose response

Social network analytics can be used to triangulate between the prescriber, the prescription dispenser, and the patient. The data can surface ways people are related to each other that wouldn’t be apparent before formally analyzed.

“So what surfaces are those non-obvious drug trafficking schemes,” Hyde said.

LexisNexis’ data also is used on the treatment side.

His team can gather data like socio-economic factors like where patients life, their education level and if they are under financial distress and analyze data to see what the barriers a person might have to getting treatment and what factors might motivate them toward treatment.

“Data and analytics play a very important part in helping treaters better understand who they are dealing with,” he said. “The epidemic is so wide spread, it’s really important to better understand the patients holistically.”

RELATED: Detox facility planned by region’s hospitals, community partners

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