Most opioid conversion apps currently available focus solely on equianalgesic dosing which is frequently performed to avoid unwanted side effects of one drug or for a more preferred route of administration (converting a patient from IV to PO or to transdermal). If done improperly, the results can be catastrophic with either opioid withdrawal or worse respiratory depression/overdose.
Here on iMedicalApps we previously found that many of the available opioid conversion medical apps lacked consistency. Some medical apps such as Opioid Risk Tool contained excellent information, but were implemented poorly leading to difficulty just inputting doses of meds. eOpioid on the other hand appeared to be an orphaned medical app with a steep learning curve. One of the best opioid conversion apps we have found is Opioid Calculator.
None of these opioid conversion medical apps contain the wealth of information providers are looking for to manage their chronic pain patients. Will Safe Opioids be the answer? Supported by a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the medical app was developed in 2013 by the Prescribers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O), a collaborative of national psychiatric, primary care, and nursing organizations. The opioid medical app aims to provide clinicians’ evidence based approaches to safe prescribing of opioid medications. The Safe Opioids app includes information on assessment of pain, screening for depression and risk of abuse.
Evidence based medicine
The Safe Opioids medical app comes from a very reputable organization that is highly involved with both substance abuse and mental illness in the US. Saif Opioids was funded by a government grant and is free of any drug company funding. The medical app contains evidence based screening for depression, risk of abuse and chronic opioid treatment guidelines. Safe Opioids would be great if it were updated to include the forthcoming CDC chronic pain guideline. The medical app doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2013.
Who would benefit from this App?
Nurses, students, residents, mid-levels, primary care providers, emergency medicine, pain medicine specialists, any provider who treats patients on chronic opioids.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
- Simple to use interface with excellent screening and treatment tools.
- Multiple high quality, linked references.
- Information about the app developers and ability to provide feedback.
- Example treatment agreements that can be emailed (many documents in app can be emailed).
- Many “files not found” in app limit overall utility.
- Many links no longer valid for websites or “updates discontinued”. No updates since 2013.
- No built in opioid conversion calculator.
- App only works with an internet connection.
Safe Opioids has a lot of potential, but currently is crippled by “dead links” and an apparent lack of continued funding. Hopefully this medical app will be updated to include the forthcoming CDC chronic pain guideline or at least fix many of the broken links as the information is highly useful to primary care providers at the center of the current prescription opioid crisis. In its current form, we are hesitant to recommend the opioid app.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Great interface design and ease of use, but information “not found”.
- Multimedia Usage
App has ability to email multiple documents, links to highly respected organizations and resources, and ability to give feedback. Some PDFs difficult to view on smartphones.
App is free, but currently only partially usable.
- Real World Applicability
If fixed, the app would have tremendous real world applicability especially to primary care providers; however, it is currently crippled by many non-functioning links and questionably outdated information. The ideal opioid app would merge the (working) data of Safe Opioids with the useful equianalgesic dosing of Opioid Calculator.
- Device Used For Review
iPhone 6S running iOS 9.2.1
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad