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In October 2017, the opioid epidemic was labeled a public health emergency. With over 60,000 overdose-related deaths last year alone, and an increase of overdoses in every single state, this has reached a crisis point.

Two of the hardest hit industries during this epidemic have been forensics and medical examiners. Faced with rapidly increasing body counts and steadily decreasing staff, many offices are struggling with a backlog of deceased and paperwork.

Due to accreditation standards, medical examiner offices are deemed “deficient” if an individual staff member performs over 250 autopsies in a year. Dr. Thomas A. Andrew, the retired chief medical examiner of New Hampshire, explained that in 2016 he and the deputy chief medical examiner performed 250 autopsies each, and are still suffering from a dangerous backlog of autopsies (which could also result in the state losing accreditation).

There will always be cases in the queue for medical examiners. What’s unique and horrifying about the opioid epidemic is, as Dr. Thomas A. Andrew explains, “ if we were to do all of our drug overdose cases and reach our limit of autopsies per pathologist, how would the homicides get done? How would the traffic crashes get done? How would the suicides get done?”

Compliance software solutions are one-way medical examiner offices could find some relief from this crisis. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, it takes far longer to complete the necessary reports for families & law enforcement than it does to complete the autopsies. With streamlined workflows and automated processes, staff could focus on completing autopsies instead of managing the mountains of paperwork accruing from the overdose epidemic.  

The exponential increase in deaths is also leading to faster staff burn-out. With decreasing staff sizes and increasing cases, medical examiners are working long hours trying to complete reports and autopsies, while barely making a dent. Transitioning to compliance software solutions would alleviate some of the burden from staff, as well as make the remaining staff more efficient in organizing and completing the necessary reports.

To further automate efforts for Medical Examiners, Qualtrax has released“Best In Class” workflows, pre-populated content designed to have a new Medical Examiner up and running within 4-6 weeks. This truncated time frame means medical examiner offices and forensics labs would be able to install our software quickly, without sacrificing time they don’t have. Once Qualtrax is implemented, it will save them time & effort in areas of compliance which will free them up to work on the pressing matters facing them.

There will be no rest for the weary medical examiners until a solution to the opioid epidemic is found. However, being able to help them just a bit in their tiresome tasks is a tremendous honor. Our goal at Qualtrax is to give time back to those who are doing critical work that serves society. Alleviating the burden of compliance for an overwhelmed industry is what we do best.

Categories: Forensic Labs, Medical Examiners, News

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