Cigna uses AI to predict prescription opioid abuse

Insurance company Cigna is using AI to predict whether patients might abuse and/or overdose on prescription opioids in an effort to reduce consumers from using the substances, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Cigna’s AI initiative started about two years ago when the company committed to reducing opioid use among its customers 25 percent within the next three years. Opioid use and abuse has been a major cause for concern for Americans, healthcare entities and the federal government. In October, President Donald Trump signed a package of opioid bills into law in an effort to curb the abuse and overdose epidemic.

To construct its predictive model, Cigna used machine learning and predictive analysis that identifies customers who are likely to overdose within the next month. When the model identifies a patient, a behavioral case manager then reaches out to them. The company ended a yearlong pilot for the program in June and identified about 1,100 customers for outreach, according to the report.

Mark Boxer, PhD, executive vice president and global chief information officer for Cigna, said the ultimate goal of the AI initiative is to proactively change behaviors. He also said the program is an example of how the company uses AI to help distill insights from massive datasets.

“It’s getting increasingly hard to detect the signals and patterns from all that data. Separating the signal from the noise in healthcare can create tremendous value,” Boxer said in the report.

To read the full report, click the link below.