New Study Finds Ways to Increase PDMP Effectiveness

 In Drug Testing, Treatment Centers

New research funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has determined techniques to increase adoption of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), which are considered a critical tool in fighting the prescription opioid epidemic. PDMPs are state-run databases that collect patient-specific prescription information at the point of dispensing. Effective use of PDMPs helps inform decisions about patient care and creates a key intervention point in cases of suspected misuse or abuse. Although 49 states have authorized PDMPs, many have not been well integrated into health information technology (HIT) systems (including electronic health records). Another problem is that few areas share their PDMP data across state lines.

The SAMHSA study funded programs in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Washington State and West Virginia from fiscal years 2012 to 2016. Each state chose its own approach to the study goals. Factors affecting PDMP–HIT integration and data exchange included existing state infrastructure, state treatment and prevention initiatives, vendor priorities, and legislative mandates. Methods that increased success included early engagement of stakeholders, the development of a mechanism to monitor progress, integration of PDMP data with individual EHRs before expanding statewide, and separation of interstate data-sharing initiatives from integration efforts.

Of the nine project states, five had initiated or expanded their exchange of data by 75 to 90 percent by early 2015. And by September 2015, eight of the nine states had launched some level of PDMP–HIT integration activities and five had successfully integrated PDMP reports into local HIT systems. Results from one local Illinois program showed a 145-fold increase in solicited reports and a 41 percent decrease in the number of patients who received an opioid prescription.

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