Cigna has partnered with dentists to increase awareness of the dangers of opioids, the greater risk of misuse and addiction among teenagers, and safer non-opioid options to manage acute dental pain. The company also is harnessing dental and pharmacy data and analytics to drive prevention and early intervention and to create long-term solutions in partnership with providers.
An analysis of three years of Cigna customers with dental and pharmacy benefits has revealed a 19% reduction in opioid (morphine milligram equivalent) prescriptions and 9% reduction for opioid days’ supply across dental specialists in the Cigna network. Cigna says these findings demonstrate how its dental providers are embracing recommendations for reducing opioid misuse, including routine prescriptions of NSAIDs for acute pain instead of opioids.
“Analyzing integrated pharmacy and dental data is an important step in helping us understand patterns of opioid prescriptions among dental providers,” said Dr. David Hamlin, regional dental director at Cigna. “Through the power of data, collaboration, and education, we can identify opportunities to improve treatment, intervene early, and support dental providers and customers in new ways.”
In addition to sharing its insights with the dental community, Cigna says it will continue to evaluate what drives opioid prescriptions for specific populations and build tools to monitor safety across a network of more than 146,000 dental providers. Cigna also says it is exploring research and partnerships with technology companies to evaluate the role of digital pain management.
“We work closely with providers and give them the information, resources, and tools they need to help their patients manage pain in the safest way possible,” said Dr. Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer for behavioral health at Cigna. “One opportunity is informing treatment plans through data-driven insights. This is true for both medical and dental pain management, and as a result we are reducing reliance on opioids—a win for patients, families, and communities.”