7 ways health IT can help curb prescription drug abuse

A collection of national working groups convened by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has identified several ways in which health IT can improve the effectiveness of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).
Primary recommendations of the groups, contained in the MITRE Corp. report Enhancing Access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Project, address what states, PDMPs and health IT vendors can do to reduce prescription drug abuse.
The groups recommend that states:
  • Streamline PDMP registration by automatic or mandatory registration.
  • Expand the pool of healthcare professionals allowed to access PDMP data, with users allowed to delegate access to staff.
Health IT vendors, the groups say, should: 
  • Create a common application programming interface (API) for PDMP system-level access that allows other systems to query and retrieve data to supplement stand-alone Web portals.
  • Integrate PDMP data access into the clinical workflow in both electronic health records and pharmacy IT systems.
The PDMP community should:
  • Standardize data available in PDMP reports.
  • Adopt the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) prescription monitoring program specification as the standard for data exchange.
  • Implement an agreement framework and model agreements with third-party intermediaries to facilitate data sharing.
"While some [recommendations] are more immediate and others require a greater degree of community organization, they are all critical to increasing PDMP usage and moving toward greater integration with other health IT," the work groups report notes.
A separate ONC workgroup also is looking at whether Stage 3 of Meaningful Use should include PDMP prescription drug history information in electronic health records.
In a meeting last month, the HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use workgroup also looked at adopting a clinical quality measure for providers based on PDMP prescribing history, mandatory provider registration with the state PDMP program, and integrating a single sign-on or hyperlink to PDMP data in EHRs.
To learn more:
- read the report
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