Weighing in on the opioid crisis

Roon Makhtal.

The opioid epidemic is perhaps the most complicated health issue facing our nation. Drug overdose deaths continue to climb year after year.

Roon Makhtal, a U of M health services management major, is researching the epidemic through an internship with the Minnesota Department of Health. There she was tasked with determining the role electronic prescriptions could play in mitigating the crisis.

Halfway through her internship she was given an even greater task: “The Minnesota e-Health Advisory got a request for a set of recommendations from Governor Dayton about how to [mitigate] the opioid crisis in Minnesota,” she says.

Makhtal eagerly accepted the challenge.

Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) is a way to create digital patient records and send prescriptions without risk of tampering or fraud. Today, only 20 percent of providers nationwide are set up for e-prescribing.

“So, the Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee is recommending that Governor Dayton provide resources to fully implement and ensure compliance with the current e-prescribing mandate,” Makhtal says. Another recommendation involves funding health care providers who cannot afford the technology upgrades necessary for e-prescribing.

Makhti will finish her work on the recommendations for the Minnesota Department of Health and graduate in May 2018. She is interested in pursuing a career in public health or health care administration. She has a special interest in working with communities suffering from health disparities.

“My classes were a good building block, and the internship was an amazing learning experience,” she says. “I never thought I would be working on recommendations for Governor Dayton."

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities