A new federally sponsored program will test giving providers quick access to prescription histories in ambulatory and emergency departments to combat prescription drug abuse.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Office of National Drug Control Policy have launched the initiative with tests in Indiana and Ohio. The goal is to better take advantage of the information in the databases of state prescription drug monitoring programs and other sources. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is funding the pilots.

The Indiana project will test how emergency department staff can access a patient’s controlled substance prescription history through the Regenstrief Medical Record Systems, which is a care management system used at Wishard Health Services in Indianapolis and at other hospitals. Emergency departments in some states are responsible for almost a quarter of controlled substances prescriptions, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Appriss Inc. and the State of Indiana are other participants in the pilot.

The Ohio project will test will test how having a drug risk indicator in the electronic health record affects clinical decision making in an ambulatory setting. The NARxCHECK software of Eagle Software Corp., for instance, automatically checks the state prescription monitoring program following registration. Other participants include Springfield Center for Family Medicine, MITRE and the State of Ohio.

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