Some states, like Ohio, allow for streamlined access of PDMP information from within the prescriber’s EHR. This feature promotes much greater use and better face time discussions with patients.
Multi-pronged approach required
Going into 2018, states should consider better incentives to encourage the wider use of programs and technologies that provide physicians with greater transparency into their patients’ consumption of controlled substances, reduce the opportunity for fraudulent prescriptions and give prescribers better tools to identify risk and facilitate intervention when necessary.
Efforts to restrict the supply of opioid-based medications, though well-intentioned, often lead to unintended consequences, such as the increased use of illicit drugs like fentanyl or heroin. In fact, heroin use in the United States has risen five-fold during the past decade.
To address this complex health crisis, the industry needs to consider a multi-prong approach that includes:
· Strengthening EPCS regulations with positive incentives to encourage wider adoption.
· Reducing the complexities and costs of onboarding doctors for EPCS, especially since prescribers seeking EPCS certification must have pre-existing DEA licenses.
· Equipping physicians with PDMP data in a timely manner that is meaningful, practical and not disruptive to workflows.
· Educating physicians and pharmacists on the benefits of EPCS, including the additional convenience, security and reduced stigma for patients in treatment.
· Expanding initiatives that increase physician involvement in addiction-prevention efforts, including programs that educate providers about alternative therapies and encourage the wider use of technologies that help identify at-risk patients, so interventions can be initiated earlier.
The opioid epidemic is exacting a lethal toll on the country. We must redouble and accelerate efforts to slow—and hopefully reverse—the current opioid epidemic. As we move into 2018, we need to make it easier for prescribers and all stakeholders to become more engaged and consider these additional approaches, particularly regarding PDMP and EPCS expanded use.
Tom Sullivan, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist and internal medicine specialist with over 40 years of clinical practice. He is chief strategy officer of e-prescribing and medication management solutions provider DrFirst.