ONC: One-third of hospitals use EHR to access PDMP data

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Nearly one in three hospitals are using their electronic health record systems to access state-run databases that track prescriptions written for controlled substances.

Prescription drug monitoring programs, which are seen as vital to reducing opioid prescribing, are not typically well integrated with the EHRs that clinicians use.

However, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT contends that it has the “first evidence of how hospitals are accessing PDMP data” within their EHRs.

An ONC analysis of 2017 AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement Data shows that EHR-PDMP integration is providing hospitals with patient-specific prescription information at the point of care to help reduce opioid misuse.

“PDMPs can be a tool for healthcare providers to improve prescribing practices, target treatment efforts to at risk patients, and mitigate the risk of potential abuse or fraud by patients who obtain prescriptions from multiple providers,” according to an ONC blog. “Access and query functions within the EHR may help the clinician by facilitating access to PDMP information to support clinical decision-making at the point of care.”

ONC says that health IT integration and enhanced user interfaces are effective tools for eliminating obstacles preventing providers from effectively using PDMPs and streamlining clinicians’ access to prescription data.

“PDMP data enables clinicians to make informed decisions and take appropriate action before prescribing an opioid,” contends ONC. “By giving providers information about a patient’s medical history and prescription drug use, PDMPs can improve prescribing practices.”

The agency sees the value of content and vocabulary standards and standards-based health information exchange for enabling the integration of PDMP data into a longitudinal care record.

“ONC is collaborating with federal partners to support standards-based approaches to further PDMP access and query functionality within EHRs, as well as data exchange and integration within health IT systems,” concludes the agency.

In addition, ONC reports that it is “analyzing and identifying opioid use disorder-related and PDMP-specific data elements as represented using content and vocabulary standards, mapping PDMP data elements with Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources to support standards-based application programming solutions for PDMP data exchange, and developing electronic specifications for clinical decision support artifacts related to clinical best practice guidelines for PDMP queries.”

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