- While some EHR systems have simplified access to prescription drug monitoring program data, it can still take 6 to 9 minutes to retrieve reports.
- This complex process is not only time-consuming but also increases the likelihood of manual errors that can result in serious adverse events for patients, physicians and healthcare employers.
- One way healthcare systems and laboratories can better follow guidelines and reduce opioid misuse and its costs is through clinical decision support.
The cost of opioid misuse could be reduced if more healthcare providers followed state and federal prescribing guidelines. They often skip these required patient-monitoring steps because of the additional time it takes to complete the tasks.
A 2015 Health Affairs study found only 53% of physicians surveyed had checked their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), and they checked only 25% of the time before prescribing opioids. Physicians told surveyors that retrieving the information is too time-consuming and difficult.
To retrieve a PDMP report, a healthcare provider must take the following steps:
- Visit the appropriate website
- Find the record for the correct patient
- Read each patient’s prescriptions by brand names or active ingredients, prescriber codes, fill dates and quantities
See related sidebar: The role prescribing guidelines play in patient-monitoring
While some electronic health record (EHR) systems have simplified access to the PDMP data, the provider must still complete the above steps except for the patient search. With or without EHR access to the PDMP, this process can take between 6 and 9 minutes, not to mention the time it takes providers to process the information.