Local NC government tackling opioid crises. This and other news.

North Carolina is experiencing an epidemic of opioid abuse. One local government is taking steps to eradicate the problem. This and other news in our latest Health News Roundup. 

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  • The Pitt County Board of Commissioners recently held a community meeting to discuss efforts in battling opioid addiction. According to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of opioid prescriptions per person in Pitt County was .517 in 2010, and it increased to 1.84 in 2015. The goal is to gather local elected leaders to discuss the opioid epidemic and focus on prevention, education and treatment. The Pitt County Coalition on Substance Abuse hopes that the tailored program specifically aimed for Pitt county will help residents. Over 100 counties in NC have been asked to hold similar forums.

  • CVS Health has struck a deal to buy insurance giant Aetna. The idea is for CVS to become a health car hub, providing basic health care to patients (especially those covered by Aetna insurance policies). Since CVS already operates more than 1,100 MinuteClinics at locations in its drugstores and within Target stores, the companies hope that people will prefer going to a clinic around the corner over making repeated trips to their doctors. CVS says its pharmacists and nurse practitioners can provide ongoing health care for people with chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma.

  • Technology in healthcare is making news, with leaders in the industry contemplating the future of artificial technology and health. Forbes notes that health care is ripe for digital transformation. The use of smartphones, tablets, social networks, apps and sensors change the game. New technology can be used by the healthcare industry to access customer records and customer ratings, and telepresence and artificial intelligence can be used to deal with physician shortages and improve access to care. GE Reports state that doctors can use artificial intelligence (AI) to track data and monitor patients through technology. Use a FitBit? It can track heart rate changes, and that info can be used by AI to inform the doctor that the patient may need their heart rate monitored at their next visit. AI collects data from records and images as well, and can help doctors detect abnormal patterns that could point to health issues. 

Has there been a similar community meeting on opioid abuse in your county? How do you feel about AI in healthcare? Let us know on Facebook or share with us in the comments. 

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