Piedmont Implements Automated Tool for Checking PDMP Databases

Oct. 9, 2019

Piedmont HealthCare, one of the largest physician-owned and directed multi-specialty groups in the Southeast, is leveraging a new solution that automates the process of checking state prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) databases.

Across the country, physician practices have been struggling to comply with state government restrictions on opioid prescriptions. But new technology from Smartlink Health Solutions, a health IT solutions company, aims to automate the process of checking PDMP databases, which track all controlled-substance prescriptions.

The idea behind these databases is that they can help providers identify high-risk people and high-risk patterns such as high-dosage prescriptions, dangerous drug combinations, and multiple-provider episodes, which in turn could prevent overdoses and drug misuse.

What’s more, recent research has revealed that the implementation of comprehensive PDMPs can be associated with lower rates of opioid prescriptions in the Medicaid population, as well as lower rates of opioid-related inpatient stays and emergency department (ED) visits.

But surveys have indicated that prescribers often ignore the requirement to check PDMP databases before prescribing opioids or other controlled substances because the process is inefficient and the cost to integrate their electronic health record (EHR) with the PDMP reporting system through traditional mechanisms is too high.

For example, the integration for Piedmont HealthCare involved the exchange of data between four different IT systems, which made the project unaffordable through other means of integration, according to officials.

But they note that by using the Smartlink Data Connector technology, Piedmont HealthCare has been able to “affordably streamline the process by auto-checking the state PDMP reporting system based on that day’s patient schedule and delivering actionable data back into the clinical workflow, without the need for human intervention. Prescribers access the PDMP risk score and patient report within their EHR during the patient visit and can quickly make an informed prescribing decision,” officials stated.

They added that the Piedmont implementation is the first time the Smartlink solution has been used as an automated, bidirectional process for checking state PDMP databases.

Mike House, chief information officer of Piedmont HealthCare, noted, “The fact that this technology is able to automate complicated clinical and administrative workflows without going the traditional integration route is incredibly promising,” said House. “The time and money it would have taken us to achieve this via four distinct system integrations would definitely not have been worth it.”

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