New web tool allows Ohioans to track ER visits with overdoses

Max Filby - The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

The state is launching a new online tool that will help connect the dots between emergency room visits and suspected drug overdoses.

The new ED dashboard from the Ohio Department of Health will provide data from hospital emergency departments from around Ohio.

The dashboard will include information for a patient’s visit to an emergency department but won’t identify specific individuals.

“Drug overdose death data is important in understanding and responding to this crisis, but there’s a lag in the data’s availability because it’s based on death certificates, which take time to complete and analyze,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a prepared statement.

>>Read more: Report: Overdose deaths cause fall in life expectancy for middle-aged Ohioans

State officials hope the dashboard will be used to examine trends such as overdose spikes and other patterns as well as demographics for the state and the individual counties, according to a press release. The dashboard can zero in on specific groups of people and time periods.

County coroners reported 3,764 accidental drug deaths in 2018, 1,090 fewer than the previous year’s record high of 4,854, according to data reported to the Ohio Department of Health. The 22% drop marked Ohio’s first decline since 2009.

The number of overdose deaths in Franklin County over the first nine months of 2019 increased 15% compared with the same period in 2018, even as other Ohio counties are expecting further declines.

“Access to timely data is critical for communities to understand the impact of suspected drug overdoses seen in emergency departments and to identify emerging overdose trends.” said ODH Director Amy Acton.

Max Filby

The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

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