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Leveraging Health IT Solutions to Combat Opioid Misuse


Fast-Track proposals will be accepted.

Number of Anticipated Awards: 4-6

Budget (total costs, per award): Phase I: up to $225,000 for up to 6 months; Phase II: up to $1,500,000 for up to 2 years


In addition, NIDA strongly encourages the offerors submitting a proposal to this topic to include potential participation in the I-Corps™ at NIH program within its Phase I proposal. For details about the I-Corps™ at NIH program see Section 2.5.


The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Over-prescription of opioid analgesic pain relievers contributed to a rapid escalation of use and misuse of these substances across the country. In 2016, more than 2.6 million Americans were diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) and more than 42,000 have died of overdose involving opioids. This death rate is

more than any year on record and has quadrupled since 1999 (1,2). Leveraging the potential of available data bases and health IT technologies may help to combat opioid crisis by targeting various aspects of the problem ranging from the prevention of opioid misuse to OUD treatment.

Project Goals:

The purpose of this RFP is to solicit data-driven solutions and services that focus on issues related to opioid use prevention, opioid use, opioid overdose prevention or OUD treatment. Small businesses – offerors are encouraged to use already existing databases and adapt pre-coded Health IT solutions for use in the OUD marketplace. For the proposed purposes the offerors may assume free of charge or minimum cost access to the federal data resources. However, it is encouraged that offerors contact NIDA to ensure resource availability, levels of restrictions, and data release process prior submission of their proposals. It is also highly encouraged that offerors work with potential purchasers in order to establish a clear acquisition/commercialization strategy.

Usage. In order to develop a clearer understating of the opioid crisis, public health data and misuse reporting is expected to be important. Among the expectations are an achievement of learning who is at risk of opioid misuse or abuse and why. Accessible information about at-risk populations seems likely to better inform policymakers, public health officials, first responders, and other stakeholders who are tasked with prevention or intervention efforts by better identifying issues related to more effective prevention and treatment strategies.

Overdose Prevention. A crucial step in combating the opioid epidemic is to intervene prior to an opioid overdose related event. In order to do so, federal, state and local stakeholders need tools to predict and analyze the supply and movement of legal and illicit opioids. This includes both physician prescription patterns and the illegal market for opioids that includes prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. By analysis of existing databases, information and correlations are likely to be identified that will allow stakeholders to respond prior to major risks in their communities. This includes being able to predict when and where a population is at risk for opioid availability, misuse and overdose so that first responders are better prepared for emergency situations and opioid overdose treatment, for instance by having drugs such as naloxone readily available in trained first responders and clinicians.

Treatment. Understanding of the patters of OUD treatment process and the available resources is an essential part of successful OUD treatment and reduction of the relapse rate. Unfortunately, most patients with OUD report no use or do not complete the OUD treatment. One likely reason for this shortcoming is that access to treatment and recovery services is not always available. Despite various efforts across the country, states, counties and cities to increase treatment access and to promote evidence-based approaches, opioid overdose and overdose-related mortality continue to increase. Accessible technologies for data analysis can help those involved in providing treatment services, better understand treatment options, address gaps in access to treatment, and improve the range of options available in communities.

Examples of the projects may include, but are not limited to:

• Analytical tools that can be used to appropriately monitor and control the movement of prescription opioids at pharmacies where unused or unneeded opioids can be returned, and sources of out of circulation opioids can be identified.

• Analytical tools to detect sources and movement of illicit opioid sales online.

Technologies to improve access to available treatment and recovery services.

Informational technologies to promote evidence-based approaches to reduce opioid use, opioid overdoses, overdose-related mortality, and the prevalence of opioid use disorder.

Products that use innovative technologies to strengthen understanding of the opioid epidemic through better public health data gathering, analysis and reporting.

• Advanced real-time technologies to track fentanyl overdoses and to enable area hospitals, local health departments and first-responders to allocate resources where they are most needed.

• Analytical approaches to identify vulnerable and high-risk populations for opioid abuse, addiction, or overdose.

• Products to better understand opioid use patterns and how the frequency and quantity of use can be monitored.

• Sophisticated approaches to better identify behavioral indicators, patient characteristics, and environmental conditions for at-risk populations.

• Tools to ensure clinicians have a full, accurate picture of a patient’s medical history when prescribing or dispensing opioids.

• Studies to define new opioid prescribing patterns through predictive models of prescription opioid usage.

• Facilitating tools that transmit information security and capture the opioid prescription data in real-time from across state lines.

Examples of federal data sources available to the offerors may include, but are not limited to

Data Sets from Federal Government (excluding HHS):

- O*Net Database (Department of Education)

- National Center for Education Statistics 2016 Outcome Measures (Department of Education)

- Bureau of Economic Analysis Input-Output Accounts (Department of Commerce)

- Current Population Survey (CPS) (Department of Labor)

- Local Unemployment Statistics- Labor force data by county annual averages (Department of Labor)

- National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) (Department of Transportation)

- Mortgage Loan Data (Federal Housing Finance Authority)

Data Sets from HHS:

- Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

- Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) (Agency for Health Care Quality and Research)

- CDC WONDER -- Multiple Causes of Death (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

- Medicare Part D Opioid Prescribing Data (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

- Medicare Part D Prescribing Data (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

- Uniform Data Service (Health Resources and Service Administration)

- Area Health Resource File (Health Resources and Services Administration)

- Buprenorphine Treatment Practitioner Locator (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

- National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

- Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Phase 1 Activities and Deliverables:

The goal of Phase I is to develop a proof-of-concept or prototype of data-driven technology for opioid use prevention, opioid use, opioid overdose prevention or OUD treatment. Activities and deliverables include:

• Identify and justify the development of a health-IT tool or technology;

• Describe the current state of the art technologies, if any, and needs for new solutions;

• Specify and justify quantitative milestones that can be used to evaluate the success of a technology being developed;

• Identify the key features of a health IT tool or technology to be commercially feasible and useful.

• Design a prototype of software structure and process architecture;

• Describe how a health-IT tool or technology is compliant with health IT regulations and guidelines for data security.

Phase II Activities and Deliverables:

The goal of Phase II is to develop and betta-test the technology for opioid use prevention, opioid use, opioid overdose prevention or OUD treatment. Offerors should develop an at-scale prototype of the technology with detailed specifications that supports future commercialization of the product with varying complexity. Decisions for continued product development into Phase II will be based on:

• Successful proof-of-concept data demonstrating adaptively of the product to the market needs;

• Description of the value of the product and expected impact to the society;

• Description of the market and/or market segments;

• Evidence for commercialization feasibility by providing feedback from potential purchasers and end-users.

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