Learn more about Heather Schoonover

Author Bio

Heather Schoonover has more than 20 years’ experience in nursing and healthcare. Prior to joining Health Catalyst, she was a director of professional practice at PeaceHealth and was responsible for improving patient safety and outcomes, organizational outcomes, leader and staff competency, and the nurse practice environment. Heather developed and implemented best practice and evidence-based nursing care standards, facilitated practice changes throughout the organization, and ensured appropriate integration of nursing standards and workflow into the EHR. Heather has served as adjunct faculty teaching entry level nursing students, and has held pro tem appointments with the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (the state regulatory board for nursing) as a member of the advanced practice sub-committee, and as a reviewing commission member, reviewing cases of alleged misconduct and participating in disciplinary hearings. Heather has a Master of Nursing degree from Washington State University, and is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a clinical nurse specialist in public and community health. Heather has been the recipient of leadership awards from both Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society for Nursing, and the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives.

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Insights

Four Effective Opioid Interventions for Healthcare Leaders

The crisis of opioid abuse in the U.S. is well known. What may not be so well known are the ways for clinicians and healthcare systems to minimize misuse of these addictive drugs. This article describes the risks for patients when they are prescribed opioids and the need for opioid intervention. It offers four approaches that healthcare systems can take to tackle the crisis while still relieving pain and suffering for the patients they serve:

Use data and analytics to inform strategies that reduce opioid availability
Adopt prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent misuse
Adopt evidence-based guidelines
Consider promising state strategies for dealing with prescription opioid overdose

Opioid misuse is a public health epidemic, but treatments are available and it’s time for those involved in the delivery of healthcare to change practices.

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A Critical Role for Better Population Health Management

Unnecessary barriers to practice and licensing limitations have severe consequences for health systems’ population health initiatives, especially as the nationwide shortage of healthcare practitioners continues to grow:

Delayed access to clinicians.
Decreased access to care, particularly primary care and care in rural areas.
Limited labor supply.
Increased costs of services.
Loss of potential revenue for healthcare organizations.

Using clinical nurse specialists as an example—one of many critical roles in population health management—effectively demonstrates the importance of removing unnecessary barriers to practice, from reductions in unnecessary readmissions and reduced length of stay (LOS), to less frequent ED visits and higher patient satisfaction.
The bottom line, when it comes to barriers to practice, is that removing them (with solutions like uniform regulations) will do more than improve population health management—it will also reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.

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