In this episode Host Tom Liddell, CEO of Harmony Health IT; speaks with Amnah Anwar, Senior Director of the Indiana Rural Health Association, on her extensive work in developing and implementing local strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic in rural Indiana communities. Working with trusted local stakeholders to organize educational opportunities for the community as well as physicians helped permeate the stigma and shame surrounding addiction. By first addressing fundamental barriers, implementing wraparound medical and community services for those suffering from or at risk of opioid and substance use disorder and overdose became a coordinated effort. Further iterations, including telehealth and other virtual tools and services, were introduced and adopted widely during the covid-19 pandemic.
CEO, Harmony Healthcare IT
Tom is a Managing Partner for Harmony Healthcare IT, serving as Chief Executive Officer. He has over 35 years of experience in healthcare information technology, and was President and Co-Founder of SMI, a healthcare technology firm located in Indiana. SMI was a part of an initial public offering that formed Medical Manager Corp (MMC) where Tom served as a Sr. Vice President. MMC was merged into WebMD where he held positions of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development as well as Senior VP of Product Management. As Senior VP of Product Management, Tom was responsible for the development and launch of a new fully-integrated financial system and electronic health record. Since 2006, he has provided senior level consulting for a variety of healthcare technology companies, health information exchanges and a regional laboratory. In his career, Tom has been responsible for overall design of Cerner Millennium multi-hospital and laboratory health information exchange platforms. Additionally, he has designed methods of data extraction, integration and backup solutions to better support healthcare integration. Today, he participates in every facet of the Harmony Healthcare IT business, providing vision and operational guidance.
Amnah Anwar, MBBS, MPH
Senior Director, Indiana Rural Health Association
Program Director, Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center
Amnah Anwar, MBBS, MPH is a public health professional working as an Epidemiologist and Senior Director at Indiana Rural Health Association. Her experience includes senior staff management, program management, grant evaluations, and grant writing. She oversees multiple programs focusing on increasing access to care for behavioral health and substance use disorder in rural Indiana. These include the Indiana Rural Opioid Consortium for combating the epidemic of Substance use overdose deaths and morbidity in rural Indiana. IRHA Community Paramedicine program uses paramedics as physician extenders to increase access to care for high-risk pregnant mothers, explicitly focusing on others suffering from SUD. The Rural Substance Use Disorder program aims to increase medication access for opioid use disorder MOUD treatment in rural Indiana. She joined the Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center as the program director and brings her experience from both the provider and consumer side to the program.
She is also the lead evaluator and co-lead for the evaluation and data department/division of IRHA. She serves as the secretary for the board of the Indiana Immunization Coalition IIC, Health By Design (HBD) board member, Elli Lilly CRFO Board member and member of the Indiana AHEC advisory committee.
The CHIME Opioid Task Force (OTF) was launched in early 2018 with a simple mission: to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic using the knowledge and expertise of the nation’s healthcare IT leaders. While our mission is simple, achieving it is not. Opioid addiction is a complex disease that requires long-term, if not lifetime, care from well-informed clinicians who are supported with easy-to-use and reliable tools.