CHIME Kicks Off Opioid Task Force with Inaugural Meeting in D.C.
ANN ARBOR, MI, Jan. 31, 2018 – It started as a wish made last October as three longtime friends sat around a firepit after a commemoration for the late Timothy Kopetsky.
Only 31, Tim had fought addiction to opioids for 10 years, and was in successful recovery for the last five years. In helping a friend who relapsed and survived an overdose, Tim came into contact with heroin and lost control. He died that evening; his friend returned from the hospital and died of a second overdose the next day.
Two more deaths from a disease that claims 115 lives a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A disease that now takes more lives annually than automobile accidents and that sends more than 1,000 people a day to emergency rooms.
Ed Kopetsky, joined by his family and their friends Jim Turnbull and Russell Branzell at that firepit in California, said he wanted something good to come from Tim’s death. Kopetsky, the CIO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto; Turnbull, CIO of University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City; and Russ Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), determined they had to do something.
Three months later, Kopetsky and Turnbull oversaw the first meeting of the CHIME Opioid Task Force. The meeting, which took place Jan. 24-25 in Washington. D.C., brought together more than two dozen healthcare IT leaders from provider organizations and industry to determine how to harness the knowledge and resources of CHIME and its members to help fight the opioid epidemic. The concept was first introduced by Turnbull on Nov. 2 at the 2017 CHIME Fall CIO Forum in San Antonio.
“Opioid addiction is truly an epidemic,” Kopetsky said. “As healthcare leaders committed to improving the public health in our communities, CHIME members and CHIME Foundation firms can make a difference if we work together. We have the tools and the talent, and now we have a framework to help those like Tim who are in need.”
The CHIME Opioid Task Force will leverage the core competencies of CHIME and its diverse membership to increase awareness and destigmatize the opioid crisis. With their expertise and access to critical data, CIOs and their industry partners are positioned to help identify best practices and build evidence to prevent, identify and treat opioid misuse and addiction. The task force also will look for opportunities to partner with other organizations, front-line medical staff, researchers, care givers and government agencies and help guide effective public policy.
“We need to empower and assist the healthcare community and help them see that there are pathways to success, whether that is eliminating overprescribing of opioids, finding interventions in clinical care or following best treatment practices,” Turnbull said. “CHIME members have the data and skills to illuminate what has worked and what hasn’t.”
CHIME will serve as the organizing body for the task force and provide support and resources. CHIME is encouraging broad participation among more than 2,500 members who represent a spectrum of healthcare systems from all regions of the U.S. and 51 nations. CHIME’s strong collaborative relationships with other associations, industry leaders and public policy makers will also be an asset.
“Opioid addiction has been an invisible problem in our society for far too long,” Branzell said. “Yet almost everyone has been touched by it, through a child, a sibling, a friend who becomes addicted. We are immensely proud of Ed and Jim for their leadership. They are an inspiration for all of us.”
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs) and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 2,500 members in 51 countries and over 150 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit chimecentral.org.
Director of Communications and Public Relations, CHIME