PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--HealthTap, the world’s first Global Health Practice providing 24/7 immediate access to doctors via video, text or voice, today released a survey in which 1,450 U.S. licensed doctors expressed their opinions on the causes of and solutions for the current opioid overdose epidemic. The epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has seen the rate of fatal opioid overdoses in the United States quadruple since 2000, claiming nearly half a million lives, and the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported there are 2.5 million people with opioid use disorder.
The survey found that doctors believe the two leading causes of the opioid epidemic are easy availability of illegal sources of opioids (72% of respondents) and overprescribing by doctors (63% of respondents). In addition, over half of the doctor respondents (56%) indicated that additional training for those doctors who prescribe narcotics is needed. Of those who felt additional training was needed, 70% said that online training is the preferred format for a mandated education program.
The findings come on the heels of an FDA advisory panel recommending additional training for doctors who prescribe opioids. With more than 1.5 million prescribers across the U.S., the FDA reports that it remains unclear how to mandate such trainings.
These findings support the growing trend of online training in the healthcare industry. HealthTap, a leader in online doctor training and peer learning, recently announced a first of its kind training and certification in Virtual Care in April 2016. A new medical discipline, Virtual Care is based on rapidly emerging changes in how healthcare is being practiced, delivered, and received.
"With more than 100,000 US doctors in our network, committed to helping others with their knowledge and expertise, we have a great way to listen to the physician community and help articulate important views and opinions shared by its diverse group from 141 specialties" said Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge, HealthTap's Chief Medical Officer. "The perspectives captured in this survey demonstrate how doctors can contribute to and inform important conversations around trending medical issues to patients and other doctors alike."
More than 70% of doctors who responded to the HealthTap survey on the opioid epidemic chose to go beyond the standardized survey questions and responses, and offered their insights in comments and suggestions. Many doctors described that they believe the opioid problem largely results from initiatives to make pain the "5th vital sign," and the trend to hold doctors accountable to measures of patient satisfaction, even for those seeking narcotics. Doctors say there are multiple factors causing the problem, and the solution to the epidemic will require a multidisciplinary approach. To view the full findings, visit: http://htap.it/opioidsurveyresults
HealthTap’s Medical Expert Network has become an important resource for researchers and journalists when they need credible doctors who are immediately available to provide insights on topics of public interest. Journalists can visit htap.it/surveyinquiry to submit requests to connect with doctors by specialty or geography, and to submit their own survey ideas or requests.
To find the survey inquiry portal, visit: htap.it/surveyinquiry
HealthTap, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, is the world’s first Global Health Practice. HealthTap delivers immediate, world-class healthcare 24/7 from Query-to-Cure™. Through video, voice, and text chat on any mobile device or personal computer, HealthTap connects hundreds of millions of people everywhere with the most trusted health advice from a network of more than 100,000 top U.S. doctors. HealthTap’s proprietary, robust, and secure Health Operating System (HOPES™) and proprietary triaging technology enable healthcare systems, payers and employers worldwide to provide the right care at the right time at the right price. Sign up today and download HealthTap’s free apps for iPhone, iPad, or Android at healthtap.com.