Following pilot programs, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is launching a new initiative to combat prescription drug abuse.

Called PDMP & Health IT Integration, the program will tackle challenges--such as lack of technical standards and vocabularies--to integrate electronic health records systems and health information exchanges with prescription drug monitoring programs.

Pharmacists report to state- or territory-run PDMPs when a prescription is filled for a controlled substance, according to a new ONC post from Jennifer Frazier, a behavioral health specialist in the agency. But most prescribing clinicians don’t access the reports to help identify patients who may be misusing or abusing the medications because the information is not easily available within a workflow.

Pilot programs that integrated PDMP data into the clinical workflow via the EHR helped spot “drug seeking” behavior, according to the blog. “When available at the point of care, PDMP information can help clinicians distinguish between patients who legitimately need opioid medications for pain treatment and those who may be seeking to misuse these powerful drugs,” Frazier writes.

The blog, available here, also has links to related white papers, a roadmap for connecting to PDMPs, final recommendations of a 94-person workgroup, a Web site forum to share knowledge and videos.

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