A study published by Penn State University revealed that overdose deaths from prescription opioids in the U.S. quadrupled from 1999 to 2015, reaching 22,000 in 2015. This increase has been fueled by a dramatic rise in the amount of opioids being prescribed, creating a vast supply of drugs at high risk for misuse. Prescribers, therefore, are a vital link in addressing the current epidemic of overdose deaths and substance use disorders. The challenge is to develop and implement systems that help prescribers identify potential cases of misuse or diversion, while still allowing appropriate prescribing of opioids for pain control.
All states now have functioning prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) that collect data from pharmacies on all dispensed controlled substances. These statewide databases have many potential uses: they can help prescribers identify patients who are “doctor-shopping” or who might need substance use disorder treatment; they can help government agencies and medical licensure boards monitor prescribing practices and identify unusual prescribing patterns; and they can inform community-based prevention strategies.
For a PDMP to be effective, however, it must be used. Despite the promise of PDMPs, actual use of PDMPs by prescribers remained low until recent years. A 2014 national survey found that 72 percent of primary care physicians were aware of their state’s PDMP, but only 53 percent of primary care physicians ever used it, and many did not use it routinely. Since then, some states have implemented mandates for provider participation in PDMPs.
PDMPs are effective in combating opioid abuse when they are properly used by prescribers, and their mandated use should become the law of the land.
In 2016, the National Governors’ Association laid out a “road map” for states to use in addressing the opioid epidemic, and suggested five steps to optimize PDMPs and improve their effectiveness.
• Require providers to check the PDMP before prescribing controlled substances.
• Use PDMP data to provide proactive analyses and reporting to professional licensing boards and law enforcement.
• Require pharmacists to report to the PDMP within 24 hours.
• Make PDMPs easier to use by integrating PDMP data into electronic health records and health information systems and by allowing prescribers to establish delegate accounts.
• Ensure PDMP interoperability across states.
EazyScripts provides physicians with access to a PDMP which allows for collaboration between medical professionals to support the legitimate medical use of controlled substances.
Our PDMP contributes to the continuity of care among providers working in a variety of practice settings such as primary care, pain management, and substance abuse care. These databases help physicians:
- By increasing awareness of all active controlled substance medications on file for a patient
- Help by safely and effectively treating chronic pain
- Alert prescribers to patients obtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors or pharmacies (known as “doctor shoppers”)
- Deter patients from doctor shopping
- Monitor compliance and increase confidence in prescribing decisions
When you combine this with our controlled substance, Surescripts-certified software which requires complete ID Proofing, two way authentication and provides an audit trail archive, you have an almost fool-proof system to combat opioid abuse.