Increasing the Impact of Opioid Settlement Funds by Investing in Health IT Infrastructure


The U.S. opioid crisis is a worsening public health issue, with nearly 110,000 overdose deaths in 2022. States have received over $50 billion in opioid settlement funding, but lack guidance on spending to support health IT infrastructure for opioid use disorder (OUD) care. Johns Hopkins and the Legal Action Center offer principles and strategies for this spending. However, the existing health IT infrastructure reflects a fragmented, siloed system and has barriers to integrated care for OUD. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT prioritizes integrated EMRs, but major gaps remain in its capacity to address the opioid epidemic. The National Drug Control Strategy calls for improved data systems and transparency. Three recommendations for an improved health IT strategy involve centralized opioid-related databases, improved syndromic surveillance, and investment in emerging technologies to support the OUD care continuum. All these efforts are necessary to evaluate, prevent, and address the opioid crisis and promote more standardized, comprehensive responses.

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