White House Opioid Commission Calls for State, Federal PDMP Interoperability

Aug. 2, 2017
In an interim report on responding to the opioid crisis, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis urged President Donald Trump to lead an effort to have all state and federal prescription drug monitoring databases (PDMPs) share data to better track patient-specific prescription data.

In an interim report on responding to the opioid crisis, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis urged President Donald Trump to lead an effort to have all state and federal prescription drug monitoring databases (PDMPs) share data to better track patient-specific prescription data.

The Commission, chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, called on President Trump to provide federal funding and technical support to state to enhance interstate data sharing among state-based PDMPs and also support regional law enforcement in cases of controlled substance diversion. Also, the commission urged the President to ensure federal health care systems, including Veteran’s Hospitals, participate in state-based data sharing.

In the report, the commission notes that numerous professional health organizations agree that PDMPs are an effective and important clinical tool to combat the addiction crisis, however, the Commission also notes that PDMPS are being significantly underutilized in the vast majority of our states. “Forty-nine states now have PDMPs but not nearly a majority of those are sharing their information. This is unacceptable. We urge you to direct the VA and HHS to lead an effort to have all state and federal PDMP systems to share information and to set a deadline of July 1, 2018 to achieve this data sharing,” the report states.

Further, the report states, “In addition to sharing data between states and the federal government, the PDMP needs to be improved with regard to its ease of use, and inclusion of other data to assist prescribing doctors. Ideally, clinicians should check their state PDMP before making the decision to prescribe either an opioid or benzodiazepine (several states already have this requirement in place), determine whether their patient has had an overdose, and other relevant information that can be summarized into categories of high to low risk.”

Health IT Now voiced support for the report’s recommendations, noting that the content of the report echoes calls from Health IT Now for better interoperability among state PDMPs and improved utilization of PDMPs in the prescribing and dispensing workflow, so that pharmacists and doctors have an accurate picture of a patient’s opioid use patterns before medication is released to them.

In a statement, Health IT Now executive director Joel White said, We are pleased the President’s Commission has adopted the Health IT Now recommendations and those of other stakeholders who call for harnessing the full potential of PDMPs to combat the opioid epidemic. We need tools that work across state lines, EHRs, and management systems to give real time data within a provider’s work flow so they have good information at the point of care before a prescription is dispensed. Until we achieve this, dangerous loopholes will continue to hinder the tools our doctors and pharmacists use to identify and stop opioid misuse.”

And, White stated, “The policy solutions related to PDMPs contained in this report offer a smart step forward and, if fully implemented, will pay dividends in the lives saved and abuse prevented.” 

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