Existing prescription drug use data will be made available to providers and pharmacists when treating patients in ambulatory and emergency departments (EDs) through a new pilot program launched by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
The pilot projects, which will take place in Indiana and Ohio, will measure the effects of expanding and improving access to prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce the prescription drug abuse epidemic, according to a release.
PDMPs are statewide electronic databases designed to be used by healthcare providers to identify and intervene in cases of potential prescription drug abuse. The databases collect, monitor and analyze electronically transmitted prescribing and dispensing data submitted by pharmacies and dispensing practitioners.
Even though PDMPs collect a considerable amount of useful information, many states do not use them enough. Improving access to the information contained in the PDMPs will provide an incentive to healthcare providers to use the program, according to a release. Thus far, 49 states either have legislation authorizing PDMPs or have active programs.
“The PDMP pilot projects being launched today will help hospital staff identify a patient’s controlled substance history at the point of care to enable better targeting appropriate treatments and reduce the potential of an overdose or even death,” said Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health IT. “We are not creating new systems, we are adding value to those that exist.” The pilot project in Indiana will demonstrate how ED staff can receive a patient’s controlled substance prescription history directly through the Regenstrief Medical Record System, a care management system used by Wishard Health Services, a community health system in Indianapolis, and other hospitals.
The project is a collaboration between ONC, Regenstrief, Wishard, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Appriss and the State of Indiana. In some states, EDs are responsible for almost 25 percent of all controlled substance prescriptions.
The Ohio pilot project will test the impact of having a drug risk indicator in the EHR and how that affects clinical decision making. The Ohio project is a collaboration with the Springfield Center for Family Medicine, Eagle Software Corporation’s NARxCHECK, the State of Ohio and MITRE.
The Enhancing Access to PDMPs Project stems from joint efforts of public sector and private industry experts that participated in the White House Roundtable on Health IT and Prescription Drug Abuse in June 2011. In turn, the HHS Prescription Drug Abuse and Health IT Work Group of the Behavioral Health Coordinating Committee created the Action Plan for Improving Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs through Health Information Technology.
The CDC has declared that the United States is in the midst of an epidemic of prescription drug overdose deaths. Deaths from prescription drugs now outnumber deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. Over the past decade, prescription drug-induced deaths have approached motor vehicle deaths as the leading cause of all injury deaths. Programs that test collaborative efforts, such as the PDMP, will help identify best practices to help providers combat prescription drug misuse.